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Olympus Launches Expanded National Innovation Award Program

-- 2006 Program Adds Two Award Categories --

Melville, NY, September 6, 2005 - Olympus, a precision technology leader in designing and delivering innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics worldwide, today announced the launch of an expanded Olympus Innovation Award Program for 2006, which recognizes individuals who have fostered or demonstrated innovative thinking in education. For the first time, the Program will include the "Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award" and the "Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award," in addition to the "Olympus Innovation Award."

The awards will be given to faculty nominees chosen from among the nearly 200 member institutions of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), a national alliance of colleges and universities fostering invention, innovation and entrepreneurship in U.S. higher education, and a partner to Olympus in executing the program. Olympus will present the three prize awards at the NCIIA's 10th Annual Meeting in Portland, OR on March 23, 2006.

"As an innovative company, Olympus understands the power of fostering, recognizing and rewarding innovative thinking and effective execution for success in today's competitive global marketplace," stated F. Mark Gumz, president and chief operating officer of Olympus America Inc. "In education, like in business, success depends on expertise as well as approaches and practices that can stimulate curiosity, learning and entrepreneurship and help deliver measurable results. Our award program with the NCIIA is designed to recognize the importance of such innovative teaching approaches and to encourage rising educators to strive to meet these standards."

The Olympus Innovation Award Program, now in its second year, represents Olympus' ongoing commitment to technological innovation and education. The original Olympus Innovation Award recognizes a faculty member who fosters an environment of innovative thinking among students through inventive teaching methods and hands-on educational opportunities. Nominations will demonstrate how the nominees' methods and philosophies have inspired students, and detail the resulting student innovations. The winner will receive a $10,000 prize award.

The Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained contribution throughout their careers to stimulating and inspiring innovative thinking in students in their own universities and throughout academia. The winner will receive a $2,500 prize award.

The Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award, whose winner will receive a $1,000 prize, recognizes an individual who has inspired innovating thinking in students in a discrete area and who, the judges believe, has the potential to make even greater contributions to the field in the future.

"We are pleased to continue our partnership with Olympus and expand this award program," said Phil Weilerstein, executive director, NCIIA. "The addition of two more awards to the Olympus Innovation Award Program allows us to recognize several people who, at different stages of their careers, are inspiring and encouraging the next generation of innovators in America."

Judges for all three awards will include Steven Nichols, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), the winner of the 2005 and first annual Olympus Innovation Award; Stephen S. Tang, PhD, Vice President Life Science Business Development, Olympus America Inc.; Phil Weilerstein, executive director, NCIIA; and two distinguished engineering and business faculty members from among the NCIIA membership.

Olympus and the NCIIA are soliciting nominations for the awards beginning immediately. Students, faculty, and others at NCIIA institutions of higher learning in the U.S. may nominate qualified educators by logging in at http://www.nciia.org/login until September 30, 2005. For more information about the Olympus Innovation Award, contact the NCIIA at info@nciia.org or visit www.nciia.org.

In addition to the award program, Olympus will partner with NCIIA to launch a pilot project called the Olympus Student Innovator Documentation Project. For this initiative, Olympus will donate 20 digital cameras that NCIIA will give to select teams of student entrepreneurs at NCIIA member universities. The Student Innovator teams will use the Olympus digital cameras to document the research and development of their innovations so that others can learn from their work. The photos will become part of a weblog narrative and report of each student team's project.

The Student Innovator Documentation Project is part of Olympus' visual learning educational initiative, aimed at raising awareness for the dynamics and benefits of visual learning in education, including digital photography. More information is available at http://www.olympusamerica.com/education.

Olympus is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics worldwide.

Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its parent company, Tokyo-based Olympus Corporation, to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes;
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents;
  • Digital and film cameras and digital voice recorders.
In the U.S. and Canada, Olympus America serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers efficiently, reliably, safely, and easily achieve superior results.

Olympus is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. The company's consumer electronics business spans North and South America.

The NCIIA was established in 1995 with support from The Lemelson Foundation. Its mission is to foster invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in higher education - components of the higher education curriculum that are vital to the nation's economic future. The NCIIA accomplishes its goals by supporting curricula and programs that encourage the development and the work of E-Teams - multidisciplinary teams of students, faculty, and industry mentors working together to take an idea for a technological innovation and bring it through prototype development to commercialization. The "E" stands for excellence and entrepreneurship.

Elizabeth Sullivan
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Christian Pflaumer
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Loran Diehl Saito
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