The Young Inventors’ Program inspires the next generation of STEM leaders by fueling excitement for innovation. The program is recognized internationally as an educational resource center dedicated to promoting creativity, invention, and scientific achievement. We are true to the founding principles to be an expert and accessible resource to inventors, entrepreneurs, and educators worldwide. YIP fuels the spark of genius by exciting today’s youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Originally a program of the Academy of Applied Science, the Young Inventors’ Program (YIP) captures the spirit of youth innovation as first envisioned by founder and inventor Dr. Robert H. Rines when he worked with others to create the program in 1986. Dr. Rines passionately believed that every child and young adult is an untapped reservoir of creativity and inventiveness.
YIP is now enriching a third generation of young inventors in New Hampshire and, most recently, Massachusetts and Vermont with plans to grow throughout Northern New England.
The mission of the Young Inventors’ Program is to provide programs, pathways, and information to develop the intellectual capacity, critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving abilities of all students so that they may become contributing, and forward-thinking members of the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the invention community.
The Academy of Applied Science was founded in 1963 to administer STEM programs where students apply scientific knowledge to life, research and inventions. In addition to YIP, the Academy administered several programs designed to encourage students to embrace scientific pursuits, including the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and the Research and Engineering Apprentice Program.
The Young Inventors’ Program was started in 1986 by a group of education experts troubled by the apparent decreasing student interest in scientific areas and a marked decline in their subsequent readiness for technology-based careers. Under leadership of the Academy of Applied Science, the Young Inventors’ Consortium was established to design and implement an invention program offering students an opportunity for expression and creativity as they develop and practice higher-order thinking skills. Academy of Applied Science founder, Dr. Robert Rines believed in the spirit of youth innovation. As the value of applied learning and “making” in today’s schools has garnered increasing respect, the program has grown considerably.
Today, YIP has evolved into a cutting-edge, K-12 project-based learning experience that provides hands-on STEM enrichment opportunities. The program takes learners on a path to showcase their original inventions that runs from their school/local invention fair all the way to national and international competitions. Components of YIP include educator professional development, school/organization classes and clubs, school/local invention fairs, and an annual YIP Northern New England Regional Invention Convention.
The Young Inventors’ Program has received two national awards. In 1992, the program was recognized as a Program of Excellence by the Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of the Northeast and Islands. The Northeast Regional Laboratory is a non-profit organization funded by the U.S. Department of Education with a mission to improve education nationwide. In 1996 YIP received the Donald J. Quigg Excellence in Education Award, to honor the efforts of an individual/group promoting the teaching of inventive thinking at all levels of the curricula, in conjunction with the Patent and Trademark Office’s Project XL.
Dr. Robert H. Rines, was an inventor, a patent attorney and an accomplished musician and composer. He was inducted into America’s National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1994 for two inventions, High Resolution Sonar and Radar.
Dr. Rines’ work began during World War II at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radiation Laboratory where he and others secretly worked on the Microwave Early Warning System. His patents underlie nearly all the high-definition image-scanning radar used to provide early-warning, weapons fire control, and missile detection radars during the Persian Gulf war. His inventions were instrumental in locating the Titanic and the Bismarck and are also used in medical instrumentation for noninvasive ultrasound imaging. But Dr. Rines is probably most widely known for his quest for “Nessie,” the Loch Ness monster, as he led multiple expeditions and scientific sonar searches for the creature in Scotland.
In addition to his scientific work, Dr. Rines was a patent attorney and founded the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire, the first law school in the world to specialize in intellectual property. As a composer he wrote music for both Broadway and off-Broadway shows.
University of New Hampshire- The Leitzel Center
In November 2020, the Young Inventors’ Program partnered with the University of New Hampshire’s Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Education. This relationship ushers in an exciting new phase of development for the Robert H. Rines Young Inventors’ Program. The Leitzel Center works to transform education in mathematics, science and engineering in elementary and secondary schools, and in non-formal settings through high quality research, carefully examined practice, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Learn more about the Leitzel Center
Invention Convention Worldwide
The Young Inventors’ Program is a member of Invention Convention Worldwide (formerly the STEM-IE Coalition). Invention Convention Worldwide inspires young people to be innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs by engaging them in problem-identification, problem-solving, and creativity activities focused on invention and entrepreneurship. A coalition of regional affiliates throughout the U.S. and countries abroad, the organization brings together learners, educators, and others from many different places and backgrounds to foster conversations and collaboration. The K-12 Invention Convention program convenes a global community of educators, business leaders, parents, and students through competitions, events, and a flexible, project-based curriculum aligned to education standards. As a recognized trailblazer in K-12 invention programming, YIP has been an active member and leader within Invention Convention Worldwide since its inception in 2015.
In addition to content and programming, our relationship with this global organization allows our students to showcase their work on a national stage. More than 100,000 K-12 inventors from across the U.S. and elsewhere compete each year at their school/local invention fairs and at the regional level with the chance to present at the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals event at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.
Learn more about the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals
Zach Umperovitch, the World’s Leading Authority in Rube Goldberg Machines, has worked closely with YIP for nearly a decade, serving as a YIP Head Judge, performing educational outreach, as well as helping to develop our RGM curriculum. He is a three-time Guinness World Records breaker, Professional RGM builder (including OkGo, Disney, Sonic, RedBull, and many others), National Contest Director at the Rube Goldberg Institute, and the Creator and Co-Host of “Contraption Masters” on Discovery Channel. Through partnership with YIP, his Youtube channel: Zach’s Contraptions, features video resources for students and educators specifically designed to provide simple to follow guidance, examples, and advice for building RGMs. Zach is based in New England and is available for in classroom STEM Educational Workshops (K-12), Presentations, Hands-On learning programs, and more.
Learn more about ZACH's COntraptions