About PHASE 0


The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 0 program aims to improve applications to the NSF Phase I program. Eligible teams and companies participate in a 7-week National Innovation Corps (I-Corps) cohort and receive customized professional startup services (I-Corps Go – more info listed below) to better prepare them for company formation and application.

Prior teams and companies who have gone through a National I-Corps cohort or who previously received an award are disqualified from applying.


To qualify, teams should:

  • Either be part of an existing company, or plan to form a company upon completion of this program

  • Have developed a deep technology

  • Not be otherwise eligible for a traditional I-Corps Team program (i.e. no previous NSF award related to the technology within the past 5 years)

  • Consist of at least two entrepreneurs (at least one of whom have a deep technical focus) plus at least one mentor with industry (preferably startup) experience

  • Plan for the Technical Lead in the team (the future Principal Investigator on the SBIR grant) to have 50%+ effort at the company

  • Plan to submit an NSF Phase 0 application in December 2019

Note: Eligibility may not be limited to the criteria and timing listed above.


  • Concentrated time to focus on commercialization activities

  • Build relationships with experienced entrepreneurs and investors who can help you bring your product to market

  • Identify commercial potential for your technology to increase probability of achievement of grants and/or venture capital funding

  • Become prepared to be entrepreneurially competitive

Contact us to find out how you can apply.