The medal is awarded annually to individuals, teams (up to four individuals), companies or divisions of companies for their outstanding contributions to America’s economic, environmental and social well-being. The purpose of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation is to recognize those who have made lasting contributions to America's competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through technological innovation, and to recognize those who have made substantial contributions to strengthening the nation's technological workforce.
By highlighting the national importance of technological innovation, the medal is also meant to inspire future generations of Americans to prepare for and pursue technical careers to keep America at the forefront of global technology and economic leadership.
Established by the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980, the medal was first awarded in 1985. On Aug. 9, 2007, the president signed the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act of 2007, amending Section 16 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee, a distinguished, independent committee appointed by the secretary of commerce, reviews and evaluates the merit of all candidates nominated through an open, competitive solicitation process. The committee makes its recommendations for medal candidates to the secretary of commerce, who in turn makes recommendations to the president for final selection. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates are announced by the White House and the Department of Commerce once the medalists are notified of their selection.