Transform your discovery into tomorrow's innovation
The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program helps researchers gain valuable insight into what it takes to start a company based on scientific and technological discoveries.
I-Corps empowers researchers (faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students) to evaluate their discoveries for the potential to address societal and business needs.
Participants in the program learn about the entrepreneurial pathway through discussions with mentors, industry scientists and potential customers.
Since 2011, NSF I-Corps™ programs at universities throughout the nation have provided thousands of academic researchers with training, skills and connections to help researchers explore entrepreneurship, starting a business, and industry requirements and challenges.
The I-Corps training curriculum is based on the Lean LaunchPad approach, developed at Stanford University, which involves talking to potential customers, partners and competitors to discover the challenges inherent in creating successful innovations.
The I-Corps environment is fast-paced and rigorous. Courses are taught by experienced entrepreneurs who challenge participants to explore whether their technologies are suitable for commercialization.
Are you up to the challenge? Visit our Engage page to learn how to apply.
Northeast Regional Programs
Novus is a half-day program followed by self-paced coursework that introduces participants to I-Corps methodology for charting the path to startup or entrepreneurial venture.
Who is it for?
Researchers, scientists and engineers who have an idea, a technology, or curiosity are welcome to participate. Novus is open to individuals or teams of university researchers, regional tech entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in exploring the world of innovation.
You will learn to:
- Articulate your hypotheses about customer needs that your tech could address.
- Understand who the users, payors, and decision makers are in your customer ecosystem.
- Test your hypotheses via conversations with potential customers.
Attend to learn the basics of how to test your business idea and how to win a $3,000 grant from the Northeast I-Corps Hub.
Registration is free and open to individuals as well as teams.
Check our Events page for upcoming dates.
Propelus is a four-week program designed for research teams to explore how your discovery can help potential customers and meet industry needs as a startup or venture.
Who is it for?
University researchers, scientists, engineers and their team members, including postdoctoral researchers and graduate students, who work as a team to translate their discovery or technology into a startup or venture.
You will learn the I-Corps Methodology, which includes:
- Developing your Business Model – specifically Value Propositions and Customer Segments.
- Testing your business model hypotheses by talking to potential customers.
- Identifying which market or industry is the best first one to enter.
Participants receive a $3,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and have the opportunity to advance to the National I-Corps program where they may receive a $50,000 NSF grant.
Check our Engage page for details about how to form a team and apply.
Your path through I-Corps
When you participate in I-Corps, you receive step-by-step support on your path as you develop your technology and learn about your product market.
Each team has unique backgrounds, goals and innovations. As such, the I-Corps path includes built-in "off-ramps" should you decide to pivot or change direction throughout the course of the program.
Possible steps on your path include $275,000 and $1,000,000 grants from The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These highly competitive programs encourage small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization.
Teams that complete the national I-Corps program are well positioned to apply for SBIR and STTR grants.
Watch this video to learn about the paths you could take through I-Corps, all the way up to obtaining funding from investors.