* Note: Trademark hereafter asserted and referred to as I-Corps
The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to further develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem that guides the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products, and services that benefit society. The goals of the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program, created in 2011 by NSF, are to spur translation of fundamental research to the marketplace, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train NSF-funded faculty, students and other researchers in innovation and entrepreneurship skills.
The I-Corps Program utilizes experiential learning of customer and industry discovery, coupled with first-hand investigation of industrial processes, to quickly assess the translational potential of inventions. The I-Corps Program is designed to support the commercialization of "deep technologies,” those revolving around fundamental discoveries in science and engineering. The I-Corps Program addresses the skill and knowledge gaps associated with the transformation of basic research into deep technology ventures (DTVs).
The purpose of the I-Corps Teams program is to identify NSF-funded researchers to receive additional support in the form of entrepreneurial education, mentoring, and funding to accelerate the translation of knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and services that may attract subsequent third-party funding. The outcomes of I-Corps Teams' projects are threefold: 1) a decision on a clear path forward based on an assessment of the business model, 2) substantial first-hand evidence for or against product-market fit, with the identification of customer segments and corresponding value propositions, and 3) a narrative of a technology demonstration for potential partners.
A webinar will be held monthly to answer questions about this program. Details will be posted on the I-Corps Teams website (see https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/program.jsp) as they become available.