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.
- Non-university teams are also eligible if they have a "deep tech" (science or engineering) innovation.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- The team structure should include a dedicated Entrepreneurial Lead and Technical lead who have relevant knowledge of the technology
- Teams should be able to articulate an initial, preliminary vision for the commercialization of the technology.
- Team members should have sufficient time to participate in the I-Corps training.
- Team members should understand their roles on the I-Corps team and express willingness to support the full cohort.
- The technology should be sufficiently developed or demonstrated to motivate the exploration of commercial potential.
- The team should be able to articulate a clear hypothesis on the problems in the market that the innovation could address.
- The team should be able to articulate a clear hypothesis on key market stakeholders.
- The team should be able to articulate a clear hypothesis on the value the innovation could offer those stakeholders.
- There should be sufficient questions remaining regarding the determination of product-market fit.
- The envisioned time to market should be sufficiently short to motivate the team's exploration of commercial potential and reflect the urgency of the team and project's prompt participation in I-Corps.
- The technology should be positioned such that a meaningful go / no-go decision can be envisioned at the end of the I-Corps training.
Learn about the impact your research could have for societal benefit!Who Should Attend
All faculty, students, and researchers at Temple University or Drexel University, as well as local entrepreneurs with a technology innovation, are welcome to attend. Come learn about the commercial potential of your technology! If you don't have…
- Sep 29, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Oct 4, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Oct 13, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Oct 20, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Apply by September 8 at 5 p.m. Propelus is our four-session program that trains university innovators to conduct team-based customer research aimed at investigating the viability and societal impact of scientific and technological discoveries.
- Nov 7, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
- Nov 9, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
- Nov 16, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
- Nov 30, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Through the program, we provide training and grants to support team-based customer research aimed at investigating the viability and societal impact of scientific and technological discoveries.
Our four-session program helps researchers explore the customer perspective to inform how a discovery or innovation can become the basis of a…