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:
Increases U.S. economic competitiveness
Enhances academic and industry partnerships
Commercializes cutting-edge technologies
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 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.
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
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
Learn about I-Corps' contributions to training the scientific workforce, creating use-based technologies, and boosting the economy.
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.