About I-Corps

In 2011, the U.S. National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program was launched to support NSF's mission through experiential learning using the customer discovery process — allowing teams to quickly assess their inventions' market potential. I-Corps prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory to increase the economic and societal impact of NSF-funded and other basic research projects.

I-Corps is unique — advancing society in the following ways:


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Increases U.S. economic competitiveness


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Enhances academic and industry partnerships


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Commercializes cutting-edge technologies

In 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (Section 601) expanded the I-Corps program. To support that expansion, NSF reorganized the National Innovation Network to include a new regional operational structure, I-Corps Hubs.


I-Corps Teams


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I-Corps Teams supports teams of scientists and engineers to explore the commercial potential of technologies developed in university laboratories through a standardized entrepreneurial training program.

I-Corps Hubs


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I-Corps Hubs bring together institutions of higher education within a distinct geographical region to collaborate and deliver a standardized curriculum. The curriculum explores the commercial potential of deep technologies with members of the scientific community and other interested parties in the Hub's region.

Government  collaboration

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NSF collaborates closely with other federal government agencies to provide researchers the opportunity to participate in the I-Corps program to accelerate research toward commercialization. While each agency implements I-Corps at a different stage of the journey, from demonstration to validation, they share a common vision of empowering researchers to inform and accelerate their connection with the marketplace. For more information about these collaboration efforts, check out the NSF I-Corps biennial report.

Nurturing an innovation ecosystem

Innovation Ecosystem

NSF pilots new ways of fostering entrepreneurship by incorporating I-Corps training into other NSF programs that conduct market research for commercial applications. Such programs include the Partnerships for Innovation program, the Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers program, and America's Seed Fund powered by NSF. In addition, to facilitate training access, I-Corps has collaborated with eight U.S. federal agencies, one U.S. state government, and one foreign country.

Propelling ideas to market

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Learn about I-Corps' contributions to training the scientific workforce, creating use-based technologies, and boosting the economy.

Featured stories

The I-Corps training program has helped launch more than 1,000 startups. Read about the remarkable work performed by our funded researchers and their role in fostering technology commercialization.