NSF I-Corps: Process

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Need help or answers regarding I-Corps at TLA? Let us know, we’re here to help.

Samantha Bankston Bares
Executive Associate, Planning & Project Management
samanthab@tla.arizona.edu
(520) 621-7262


Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

TLA offers two tracks for teams, enabling both UA-derived and independently-derived innovations to benefit from the I-Corps program. Regardless, the processes merge upon the acceptance of the preliminary I-Corps team application and the initiation of services.

UA-IP vs. Non-UA IP

Depending upon the conditions under which your invention was created, the resulting intellectual property may be owned by the University of Arizona. If you do not know whether your IP is UA-owned or not, we will help you answer this question up front. The UA Intellectual Property Policy outlines what defines UA IP and the inventors’ rights.

Whether or not your IP is UA-owned, you will receive a professional legal assessment of your invention as part of the program: 

  • If your intellectual property was created in the course of your employment as a UA researcher, faculty member or staff, Tech Launch Arizona will contact you with next steps. 
  • If you are a UA student researcher, faculty member or staff and your intellectual property was created outside the course of your UA employment, you will work with the IP Law Clinic at the James E. Rogers College of Law. TLA will put you in contact with the Clinic once your application has been accepted.

Step 1: Identify Eligibility 

Innovators check for eligibility and contact TLA or one of our collaborators with any questions. Innovators must demonstrate a commitment to commercializing their technology to be eligible for the program.


Step 2: I-Team Site Application Submitted

Teams that meet eligibility requirements submit an application, which is then reviewed by TLA and collaborators.


Step 3: Awards Granted, I-Corps Site Program Ensues

Teams receive awards of up to $3,000 to apply toward customer discovery and simultaneously complete three weeks of Lean Launch coursework. As needed, teams receive the following assistance:

  • Confirm Intellectual Property and Reduction to Practice: “Reduction to Practice” is a legal term that means that the inventor/s have proven that the technology does what the intellectual property claims cover.

    • UA IP: Invention assessed through Tech Launch Arizona process using external counsel.

    • Non-UA IP: Invention assessed via the College of Law IP Clinic.

  • Analyze Commercial Feasibility and Market: Decision support for team formation and business case development provided via TLA’s Business Intelligence Team and UA Librarians at no cost to I-Teams.