Welcome to NSF I-Corps
NSF I-Corps is the National Science Foundation's flagship program that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. It's designed to help researchers, inventors, and aspiring entrepreneurs transform their scientific and technological discoveries into viable, marketable products or services.
Tech Launch Arizona's Role in the Desert and Pacific Region Hub
As the driving force behind innovation and technology commercialization at the University of Arizona, Tech Launch Arizona plays a pivotal role in the Desert and Pacific Region I-Corps Hub. Together, we are your Countdown to Launch partners in the region, offering:
- Training and mentorship for researchers and entrepreneurs.
- Funding opportunities and grants to support your innovation journey.
- Access to a vast network of industry experts.
- Assistance with customer discovery, market validation, and technology commercialization.
Our mission is to bridge the gap between academia and industry, connecting brilliant minds with real-world impact. We provide resources, mentorship, and funding to empower individuals and teams to move their innovations from the lab to the marketplace.
Key Components of NSF I-Corps
1. The Team
Teams are usually comprised of an Entrepreneurial Lead, a Technical Lead (Principal Investigator), and Mentor. While required for national I-Corps teams, a 3-person team is not mandatory for regional training, and teams with 1 or 2 members are encouraged to apply.
- The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) could be a Post-Doctoral scholar, graduate or other student or other personnel with relevant knowledge of the technology and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation.
- The Technical Lead (TL) will typically be a faculty member, senior research scientist or postdoctoral scholar with deep and direct technical expertise in the actual core technology about which the I-Corps team is exploring commercial potential. Typically the Technical Lead will also serve as the proposal Principal Investigator (PI).
- The I-Corps Teams Mentor (IM) will typically be an experienced entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of Academic labs. The I-Corps Mentor will be responsible for advising the team through the I-Corps process and helping the team navigate the business ecosystem in the specific application area(s).
Our comprehensive curriculum provides participants with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the commercialization process successfully. This includes customer discovery, business models, and value propositions.
3. Customer Discovery
The heart of the program is learning directly from potential customers through interviews and feedback, a crucial step in understanding market needs.
NSF I-Corps offers non-compensatory funding to support your journey from idea to product, helping you take the necessary steps to move your innovation forward.
How to Get Involved
Whether you're a researcher, student, or a potential industry mentor, find out how to get involved with NSF I-Corps and Tech Launch Arizona. Start your Countdown to Launch toward innovation and entrepreneurship by contacting Taylor Silverstein with the Desert and Pacific Region Hub or Aileen Dingus with Tech Launch Arizona for more information.
Join the Catalyzing Change I-Corps Cohort for Social Innovation hosted by the University of Arizona! January 30 through February 27.
All upcoming cohorts will be posted on the Desert and Pacific Region Hub events page.
Need help or answers regarding I-Corps? Let us know, we're here to help.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 2229385. 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.