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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 16, 2004

Harkin Helps Secure Funding For UI's Invent Iowa Program

Invent Iowa, a program of the University of Iowa's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development that encourages Iowa students to design and create inventions, has received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant was secured with the help of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs a U.S. Senate subcommittee that funds education initiatives through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Harkin helped start Invent Iowa in 1986.

The funds will be used to encourage children in kindergarten through 12th grade to create inventions and hold invention conventions at the school level. Last year, more than 30,000 Iowa students participated in the program.

"Invent Iowa is such a great way for students to identify the problems they see around them and to persevere in creating successful solutions," said Clar M. Baldus, Ph.D., state coordinator of Invent Iowa. "We are excited to see students creating inventions that improve the quality of life for those around them."

Invent Iowa participants are expected to develop inventions that generally meet the requirements for a patent in the United States. In other words, they must be "new, useful and non-obvious." To make the experience more meaningful, students are encouraged to keep journals chronicling their inventions from concept to completion.

Invent Iowa curriculum materials are available at the Belin-Blank website: All materials are free, including the new K-5 curriculum that will be released in early spring 2005.

Inventions selected at the regional competitions are displayed each year at the Invent Iowa state convention. The state convention, organized by the Belin-Blank Center and co-sponsored by the UI and Iowa State University colleges of engineering, is held at the UI and ISU campuses alternating years. The next state convention will be held on April 30, 2005 at ISU and is free and open to the public.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,; Program: Clar Baldus, 319-335-6189,