The National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-CorpsTM) Northeast Hub is part of a nationwide NSF-funded network of universities formed to accelerate the economic impact of federally funded research – delivering benefits in health care, the environment, technology and other areas – while building skills and opportunities among researchers from all backgrounds, including those historically underrepresented in entrepreneurship.
Princeton University is the principal institution in the new Hub, with the University of Delaware and Rutgers University as partner institutions. The Hub includes five initial affiliates: Lehigh University and Temple University in Pennsylvania, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Rowan University in New Jersey, and Delaware State University. The Hub will expand by adding new affiliates each year.
With $15 million in funding from NSF over five years, the Hub provides entrepreneurial training, mentoring, and resources to enable researchers to form startup companies that translate laboratory discoveries into breakthrough products and services. The Hub employs the NSF I-Corps entrepreneurship training approach, which focuses on understanding the needs of potential customers, first-hand exploration of industrial processes and practices, and confronting the challenges of creating successful ventures based on scientific discoveries.
The I-Corps approach is based on the “lean startup” methodology in which innovators rapidly iterate on their products and business plans based on customer feedback and market needs.
Ultimately, the goal of the NSF I-Corps program is to grow the societal and economic benefits arising from NSF-funded research in science and engineering
Located in the heart of the U.S. Northeast, the Hub makes use of its proximity to “deep-tech industries” that revolve around fundamental discoveries in areas such as health care and pharmaceuticals, energy, the environment, earth- and water-friendly “green and blue” technologies, financial technologies, agriculture, and communications and digital information.
The Hub builds on the robust industrial and government relationships of its academic institutions to develop a network of cross-sector partnerships that will expand the benefits to society that stem from the investment of federal research dollars in the region’s universities.