NSF I-Corps Program
National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is a public–private partnership that helps develop scientific and engineering discoveries into useful technologies. The program connects academic researchers and students with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities at the local level.
The NSF I-Corps Program has been very successful in facilitating and enhancing entrepreneurship and commercialization in the local and regional ecosystems and economies across the nation through the commercialization of technology. See NSF I-Corps Data Summary, Fiscal Years 2011-2016.
UGA NSF I-Corps Site
Through a 2017 grant from the National Science Foundation, UGA was designated an I-Corps Site. I-Corps sites provide resources for the creation, development, and nurturing of entrepreneurial teams interested in transitioning their ideas, technologies, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace.
UGA has developed the I-Corps Accelerator, an intensive four-week program to help teams identify, test, and validate customer segments, and the arrive at a value proposition that fits between their product and market. See the six-week schedule.
Throughout the Accelerator, UGA I-Corps site teams receive mentorship and guidance and other helpful tools to make “go/no-go” decisions about commercialization within six months and prepare for NSF’s National I-Corps program, application to Georgia Research Alliance Ventures Program, space through the UGA’s New Materials Innovation Center or Innovation Gateway Incubator, and access to other resources to build a successful business.
Who Can Apply to UGA I-Corps?
UGA I-Corps is open to the university community including undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as the local entrepreneurial community within Athens-Clarke County and Northeast Georgia. The I-Corp Site program supports teams that typically comprised an Academic , an Entrepreneurial Lead, and a Business Mentor. Interested teams must have a project or idea in the area of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).
Teams accepted to participate in UGA I-Corps are eligible for up to $3,000 in NSF funding which, may be used to support the travel expenses to conduct interviews with potential customers. In addition to seed funding, I-Corps sites provide resources in the form of space, entrepreneurial mentoring and guidance, curriculum and other needed assets.