Apply for the next I-Corps Hub Regional Program

About the program

  • In the I-Corps program, scientists and engineers take the first step in assessing if their research has the feasibility to become a product or service of benefit to society.
  • Participants join the program in small teams organized around the development and commercialization of a particular discovery.
  • Teams engage in customer discovery research aimed at investigating the commercial viability and societal impact of a novel discovery or process in science, technology or engineering. 
  • The program provides grants of up to $3,000 and training to support customer discovery and technology investigation.
  • Each training program consists of 4 sessions (online) provided by instructors at our Hub institutions. 

Who should apply

  • Researchers and their colleagues who have developed a science or technology innovation at any university or college across the northeast are eligible to become entrepreneurial or technical leads.
  • Teams can originate at any institution such as a university, college, medical school or hospital. Participants do not need to be from NSF I-Corps Northeast Hub member institutions. Our regional approach means we have a preference for teams who are based in the Northeast (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut).

Forming a team

The first step in applying to join I-Corps is to form a team. Teams consist of at least three roles:

  • Entrepreneurial lead
    • The entrepreneurial lead may be a graduate student, postdoctoral scholar, undergraduate student or staff member with relevant knowledge of the technology or market and a commitment to investigate the potential opportunity for commercialization.
    • The role of the entrepreneurial lead is to drive the customer discovery process and support the transition of the technology into the marketplace if it demonstrates commercial viability.
      • Additional researchers or leads are welcome.
  • Technical lead
    • The technical lead will often have been involved in creating the technology that forms the basis of the team’s business concept or possesses a high level of relevant technical expertise. The role of the technical lead is overall project management. The technical lead is often a faculty member and, if a company is formed, plays a key leadership role such as a scientific advisor or chief technical officer.
  • Mentor
    • The industry mentor will typically be an experienced entrepreneur, intrapreneur or corporate innovator who serves as a third-party resource.
    • The role of the mentor is to guide the team forward and track progress.
    • Teams do not have to identify an industry mentor prior to application, but are encouraged to do so. 
    • Mentors can also be suggested by Hub instructors when necessary. 

What you'll get

  • Training: Four sessions introducing the lean startup methodology and guiding teams through customer discovery research – customer, problem, solution and value proposition testing. 
  • Funding: Grants of up to $3,000 are given to each team and can be used to fund expenses related to customer discovery research, including solution-testing costs. 
  • Mentorship and networking: Funded teams will receive mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs and innovators. Teams may also utilize many other programs offered by the Hub-affiliated institutions.
  • Follow-on opportunities: Upon completion, teams are eligible for the national NSF I-Corps Teams program which provides an intensive 7-week training course and a $50,000 grant.
  • Enhanced research outcomes: Other benefits include
    • attracting more innovative graduate students to your lab (for faculty)
    • finding a job in industry (for grad students), networking with peers
    • finding potential licensees for your technologies
    • many other potential beneficial outcomes. 

Selection process

  • Applications will be reviewed by the I-Corps Hub Review Committee.
  • Selections are based on project potential and team commitment.
  • Teams who pass the initial review will be invited to an interview (online) with the Review Committee.
  • Selected teams will then participate in the 4-session training program (online).

Selection criteria

Application

Events

I-Corps Info Session June 6th
Jun 6, 12:00 pm1:00 pm

Join us for an overview of the I-Corps regional program for university researchers interested in bringing technological innovations to customers. Open to all university researchers in the Northeast Hub region.

I-Corps Regional Program August 2022
  • Aug 1, 1:00 pm4:00 pm
  • Aug 3, 1:00 pm4:00 pm
  • Aug 10, 1:00 pm4:00 pm
  • Aug 24, 1:00 pm4:00 pm

Apply by June 27 at 5 p.m. In this four-session program, Hub instructors provide training and grants to support team-based customer research aimed at investigating the viability and societal impact of scientific and technological discoveries.