National I-Corps Teams applicants
A team accepted into the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) National Teams training program is eligible to be awarded up to $50,000, which supports the team’s program participation including stipends and expenses for virtual and in-person customer discovery.
Through the seven-week program, teams engage with prospective customers, partners, and others in the ecosystem—evaluating the commercial potential for turning their technologies into successful products, processes and services.
Submit an executive summary
If you are eligible for national training but have not started the application process yet, submit an executive summary using the NSF I-Corps Teams Executive Summary Form.
Respond to the solicitation
If you have already completed your interview with the I-Corps staff and have been invited to respond to the solicitation, do so at the link below.
How to apply
- Form a team. Teams consist of three to five members, with each member playing a distinct role.
Technical lead: Typically, a faculty member who is the technology inventor and serves as principal investigator, or a postdoctoral researcher who has deep expertise in the core technology area to be evaluated for market potential.
Entrepreneurial lead: Typically, a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher who leads the team and is committed to commercialization.
Industry mentor: An industry expert with business/entrepreneurial experience who is independent from the technology development and team.
Teams may include additional members; however, they may not exceed five members. Teams may also identify a principal investigator, or PI, of record — someone who submits the proposal, manages the award and is connected with the technology development but does not wish to participate in the training program.
- Submit an executive summary. Complete the NSF I-Corps Teams Executive Summary Form.
- Connect with NSF. Once NSF has received your executive summary, the I-Corps staff will schedule an interview with your team to review your information, provide feedback, and determine if you are ready for the national program.
- Select your cohort. After completing a successful interview, you will be invited to select the cohort that your team would like to attend. Be sure all team members are available to attend all I-Corps session dates and times.
- Submit your I-Corps proposal. After successfully completing your interview, you will also be invited to submit an I-Corps proposal to NSF.
Applicants must have a technology development connection to an institution of higher education as well as submit their application from an institution of higher education.
Applicants who have had an active NSF research award in the last five years in a relevant research area –– from any field of science or engineering are eligible to apply to the national I-Corps program.
Researchers who have not received a research award from NSF may earn eligibility to the national I-Corps program by first participating in a regional I-Corps program and receiving a letter of recommendation following completion of the program.
Mandatory team commitments
- 100 Customer Interviews. Complete a minimum of 100 potential customer interviews during the seven-week training program.
- Session Attendance. Attend all I-Corps sessions including the kick-off and closing meetings, weekly web sessions and office hours. All team members, including the team mentor, must attend all I-Corps sessions.
- Customer Discovery. Follow the customer discovery process and other guidance given by the instructors.
- Explore Commercialization. Commit to exploring the commercialization potential of your technology.
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.