Tapping the enormous potential of NSF-funded science and engineering innovations

I-Corps™ is a National Science Foundation initiative to increase the economic impact of research it has funded

The I-Corps™ program was created by the NSF in 2011 to help move academic research it has funded to market. Through a dynamic collaboration with VentureWell, the NSF offers select participants from US academic laboratories the opportunity to participate in a special, accelerated version of Stanford University’s Lean LaunchPad course. This revolutionary course engages participants in moving products out of the lab and into the market by talking to potential customers, partners and competitors and encountering the challenges and uncertainty of creating successful innovations.

The I-Corps™ environment is fast-paced and rigorous; teams are pushed, challenged, and questioned in the hope that they will learn quickly whether or not their ideas are worth pursuing. Teams are expected to complete at least ten customer interviews a week, which means that over the ten-week course teams have contact with 100 potential customers.

The teams—composed of academic researchers, student entrepreneurs and business mentors—participate in the curriculum via online instruction and on-site activities through one of several I-Corps™ Nodes. I-Corps™ Sites catalyze additional groups to explore potential I-Corps™ Team projects and other entrepreneurial opportunities that build on academic research.

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