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The RSA and The Institute of Patentees and Inventors both have long histories of innovation and invention. This is why the IPI are very proud to be partnering up with the RSA and would welcome applications from RSA Fellows to be fast-tracked to join our IPI Fellowship. For more information on how to apply, please see the details shown at the end of this article.

The Institute of Patentees & Inventors (IPI) has been supporting, educating and championing inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs since its inception, in 1919.

The first 50 years of our existence was in a period of global turmoil and uncertainty, as the Institute was formed immediately following the Great War, and the horrors of that conflict were still fresh in the minds of the British people. Sadly, further conflicts were to come. Inventions reflected that period, and one famous inventor and active member of the Institute changed history. He was - Sir Barnes Neville Wallis (of the bouncing bomb and wellington bomber fame).

Talking of bombs, the IPI survived its cruellest blow on Friday 13th September 1940 when its building (10 Victoria Street, Westminster comprised of offices, meeting rooms, lecture theatre, library and even a bar), and most of its archives, were destroyed by the Luftwaffe.

Other former members included Sir Christopher Cockerell (Hovercraft), Sir Alistair Pilkington (Float Glass), Professor Eric Laithwaite (Linear Motor) and Mr. Ron Hickman (designer of the iconic Lotus “Elan” and inventor of the “Workmate”).

Our history is remarkable to say the least, but as we are always saying ‘’We cannot rely on it and need to make new history now!’’.

In the last thirty years or so, we have seen global turmoil and uncertainty again – which never seems to go away - but there have also been revolutionary changes brought about by computer technology. As society has changed so too has the Institute. To meet the demands of the times its scope has widened to embrace creativity of all kinds from science to the arts. That said, many of the obstacles facing an inventor in 1919 are the same today - e.g. getting access to good impartial information, finance and ongoing support is still very difficult. Creativity needs support and cultivation to blossom into ‘great things’. That support, through education, is the main purpose and objective of our new and modern institute.

There has been some radical changes and re-organisation to the institute in the last couple of years. Partnering and setting up of a new IPI branch in Salford University (so as a national organisation we are no longer London-centric) and becoming a charity foundation.

Our work is very diverse, giving talks/lectures at schools, universities and business events, running workshops, taking delegations all over the world and judging at international invention shows. We also have a free helpline and publish a magazine, three or four times a year, called the ‘Future & The Inventor’.

Additionally, via the ‘Ask an Expert’ scheme run by the British Library, we offer free hour long one-to-one advisory sessions, working under strict ‘confidentiality’ agreements. We aim to educate and nurture our creative people by adding clarity and direction to the processes of ‘having an idea’ and its ensuing commercialisation. This is crucial work as inventors are instrumental in creating a better and more prosperous future for Britain and the world.

Annually, we hold the IPI ‘Bash’ - a post-Christmas networking party in London and, next year, in Manchester also. Members and non-members are welcome at this valuable networking event which is much anticipated. Next year, being our centenary, these will be extra special. We are also planning a big centenary celebration, for later in the year, with an event\conference\exhibition event and to write and publish a book on the IPI’s history (with opportunities for sponsorship).

If you would like to join our IPI Fellowship and be part of our new history, please get in touch. As an RSA Fellow you are eligible to apply, via our ‘’fast track” Fellowship route. There is a one-off joining fee of £15 and an annual subscription of £120.00, or £60.00 for pensioners. If you want an application form to join or/and chat about the sponsorship, please email Mark Sheahan at mark.sheahan@theipi.org.uk.

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