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I-Corps National Program

The objective of the I-Corps National Program is to broaden the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects by preparing scientists and engineers to focus beyond the laboratory. The National I-Corps program provides a $50,000 award (F&A limited to $5,000) and supports I-Corps Teams over a period of six months to learn what it will take to achieve an economic impact with their particular innovation.

Eligibility and Team Composition

To be eligible to pursue funding under a National I-Corps Teams award, applicants must have received a prior award from NSF (in a scientific or engineering field relevant to the proposed innovation) that is currently active or that has been active within five years from the date of the I-Corps Teams proposal submission. The lineage of the prior award extends to the PI, Co-PIs, Senior Personnel, Post Docs, Professional Staff or others who were supported under the award. The prior award could range from a modest single-investigator award to a large, distributed center and also includes awards involving students such as REU Sites.

The expected outcomes from participation in the National I-Corps Program include:

  • New Start-up businesses
  • Licenses
  • SBIR proposals
  • Business model description suitable for review by third-party investors

Before an I-Corps Teams proposal can be submitted, PIs must complete a series of steps that may lead to an invitation to submit a proposal.

The steps are as follows:

A.  Form a Team:

Identify a set of three I-Corps Team members. The I-Corps team will consist of three roles - Entrepreneurial Lead (EL), I-Corps Teams Mentor, and Principal Investigator (PI)

The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) is typically a postdoctoral scholar, graduate or other student with relevant knowledge of the technology and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. The Entrepreneurial Lead should also be capable and have the will to support the transition of the technology, should the I-Corps Teams project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability.

The I-Corps Teams Mentor will typically be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of Academic labs. The I-Corps Teams Mentor must be a third-party resource and may be recommended by the proposing institution or may be a member of the NSF-supported I-Corps network.

The Principal Investigator (PI) will be responsible for overall grant management.

 B.  Prepare an Executive Summary:

Prepare a one-page Executive Summary that describes the following:

    1. Composition and roles (EL, PI, Mentor) of the team members proposing to undertake the commercialization feasibility research
    2. Relevant current/previous NSF awards
    3. Brief description of the potential commercial impact
    4. Brief description of the current commercialization plan

C. Whole Team Participate in Telephone Interviews:

Teams that describe projects with viable commercialization potential will be scheduled to engage in conference calls with NSF's I-Corps Management Team and I-Corps Instructors. The purpose of this call is to assess the proposing team's capabilities and commitment to the program. At the conclusion of these conference calls, teams may be invited to submit full proposals.

D. Submit Proposal:

The I-Corps Teams Program will only accept proposals that have been authorized for submission.

For more information visit:

Downloads in pdf form (these are on the above website):

I-Corps Teams Solicitation
I-Corps Teams Factsheet


For More Information Contact:
Matthew Lynall, Ph.D.
PI for the Purdue I-Corps Site
Office: 765 496-6321
Mobile: 765 404-2446