National Invention Convention Rules

These are the official rules of The Henry Ford Museum’s 2019 National Invention Convention presented by United Technologies Corporation.


This is an invitation-only event. Each STEMIE Coalition Affiliate partner is allocated a certain number of invitations to extend to the best members of their respective programs. A limited number of invitations are also allocated for the top scoring inventors from STEMIE’s Independent Inventor Program. If you are a school not in one of our affiliated areas, you can connect with our event through our Independent School Program.


Inventors from grades K-12 who have entered affiliate member competitions and/or STEMIE”s Independent Inventor or School Programs and won an invitation to our event are eligible to take part in this competition. This competition is open to both individual and team competitors.

Note: All inventors must be present for both in-person judging and during the awards ceremony to be eligible for awards.

All projects must have:

  • An inventor’s log (logbook or journal)
  • A poster board/trifold
  • A prototype (which may be non-working)
  • A four-minute unedited and continuous video of the pitch.


  • Teams may compete against individuals, and vice versa, for select award categories.
  • Teams are limited to four or fewer members.
  • All team members must take part in the team “pitch” both on video and on competition day to be eligible for an award.
  • All members of the team are not required to be present during judging at the national event, however only those present during judging will be eligible for awards and other prizes.
  • Teams only need to submit one logbook for their project.

Each student can enter only one entry into the National Invention Convention.  No student can participate in both the team and individual competition.

Teams will take part in the same judging processes as individuals. Rules for teams will mirror those of the individuals. Students will classify their inventions upon registration and will be judged in that category unless changed by the judges. The National Invention Convention staff and judges reserve the right to combine and/or reconfigure awards categories.

Learn more about the judging process here.

Project Restrictions

The trifold display board for National Invention Convention  should be a maximum of 48” wide (24″ with both 12″ sides folded in) and 36” tall, and the trifold is expected to fit onto a footprint of no more than 30” wide (with sides folded in) on the tabletop. Your prototype must fit within this space on the table as well, or in front of the table provided it does not encroach upon neighboring prototypes. No over-sized displays will be allowed in the judging circle.

The following items are not allowed on your person or in your project:

  • Electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices
  • Guns, replica guns, ammunition, and fireworks
  • Knives of any size
  • Mace and pepper spray
  • Razors and box cutters

Also: no balloons, glitter, or confetti are allowed in any form.

Note: There will be no access to electrical outlets on the museum floor, so any electrically powered inventions should be battery-powered, and batteries provided by the inventor.

More information about National Invention Convention 2019: