WHAT IS I-CORPS™?
The I-Corps™ program was created by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2011 to facilitate the transitions of funded academic research to market. The NSF offers select teams from universities the opportunity to participate in a fast-paced and rigorous program that helps move products out of the lab and into the market by giving them hands-on experience with the challenges of customer discovery.
In the I-Corps™ environment, teams are pushed, challenged, and questioned to help them quickly learn whether or not their ideas are worth pursuing.
The teams — composed of academic researchers, student entrepreneurs, and business mentors — participate in the curriculum via online instruction and on-site activities at one of several I-Corps™ Nodes. An I-Corps™ team project will have three results:
- A clear decision regarding the viability of its products and services
- If the project is viable, then a transition plan for the project to move forward
- A technology demonstration for potential partners
WHERE ARE I-CORPS™ PROGRAMS OFFERED?
The I-Corps™ network has 9 diverse, interconnected nodes:
Bay Area (UC Berkeley, UCSF, Stanford)
Midwest Node (UMich, UI Urbana-Champaign, Purdue)
NYC Regional Innovation Node (CUNY, NYU, Columbia)
DC Regional Node (UMD, George Washington, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech)
IN-LA Node (USC, UCLA, Caltech)
Southwest Alliance for Entrepreneurial Innovation (UT Austin, Rice, Texas A&M, Texas Tech)
South Node (GA Tech, UA Tuscaloosa, UA Birmingham, UT Knoxville)
Upstate NY Alliance for Entrepreneurial Innovation (Cornell, RIT, UR)
HOW DO I APPLY TO I-CORPS™?
Teams that want to apply must first participate in a regional NSF-supported I-Corps™ training program. Upon completion of the regional program, a senior member of that I-Corps™ Node must recommend the team for the National I-Corps™ program. The technology underlying the effort will also need to be consistent with NSF requirements for intellectual merit and represent a significant technical innovation.