News Release

Dean Kamen, science advocate, inventor and entrepreneur, to receive 2018 NSB Public Service Award

April 5, 2018

The National Science Board (NSB, Board) is delighted to announce that Dean Kamen will receive its 2018 Public Service Award. This award honors exemplary public service in promoting public understanding of science and engineering.


“Dean Kamen’s body of work is extraordinary and has benefitted people around the world,” said Vicki Chandler, chair of the NSB’s Committee on Honorary Awards. “Dean’s tireless advocacy and inventions have improved the human condition, advanced the cause of science and technology, and supported and inspired others, particularly young people.”


Although Kamen is a world-renowned entrepreneur and inventor, one of his proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology. Founded in 1989, FIRST® now serves more than one million young people, ages six to eighteen, in more than eighty-six countries.


Kamen holds more than one thousand U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have enhanced health care worldwide. While still a college undergraduate student, he invented the first wearable infusion pump, which rapidly gained acceptance in such diverse medical specialties as oncology, neonatology, and endocrinology.  Working with leading diabetes researchers, Kamen used this technology to design the first wearable insulin pump.  At age 30, he sold his company, AutoSyringe Inc., to Baxter Healthcare.


Next, Kamen founded DEKA Research & Development Corporation to develop inventions and provide research and development for major corporate clients.  Under his leadership, DEKA teams have created a wide variety of innovative products, including the HomeChoiceTM peritoneal dialysis system (for Baxter Healthcare), the CrownTM stent (for Johnson & Johnson), the LUKE advanced prosthetic arm (for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – DARPA), the iBOTTM Mobility System, and the Segway® Human Transporter.


Among his many recognitions, Kamen was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2000 for inventions that have advanced medical care worldwide and for [innovative and imaginative] leadership in awakening America to the excitement of science and technology.  Kamen was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1997 and awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2002. An ardent supporter of our veterans, Kamen received numerous veteran service awards, including, the inaugural Lincoln Award.  As well, he has been awarded more than 43 honorary degrees from academic institutions around the world. 


“The NSB, its members, and its previous honorees are the most effective and prestigious voices in our country regarding the importance of science and technology.  It is particularly gratifying for me to be recognized by this critically important community,” said Kamen.


The NSB will present Kamen with its Public Service Award on May 2nd during the National Science Foundation Annual Awards Ceremony held in Washington, D.C.


The Board established the award in 1996. The annual award recognizes people and groups (e.g., companies, corporations, organizations) that have increased the public's understanding of science or engineering. Past Public Service awardees include Jane Goodall, Stephen Jay Gould, Craig Barret, Alan Alda (Scientific American Frontiers), Arthur Caplan (New York University) and last year, Arthur Eisenkraft (University of Massachusetts Boston).


About NSB

The National Science Board and the National Science Foundation's Director jointly head NSF. NSB identifies issues critical to NSF's future and establishes the Foundation's policies. The NSB also provides the President and Congress with Science and Engineering Indicators, a biennial report on U.S. progress in science and technology. Members are appointed by the President for six-year terms and selected for their eminence in research, education and records of distinguished service.


Media Contacts:

Kim Silverman, National Science Board, (703) 292-4515,
Julie Charron, DEKA Research & Development Corp.,

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

Useful NSB Web Sites:

Home Page:
Media Contact:
Twitter: Twitter:

To view PDF documents, please download Adobe Acrobat Reader.