NSF I-Corps Program Information

General Program Information

Expectations

Each member of the teams who participate in the NSF I-Corps Site Program are expected to contribute at least 3 to 5 hours per week to customer discovery and market research related activities. By the end of the program teams are expected to complete some of the following deliverables:

  • Business model canvas
  • Market research (Industry size, growth, trends, etc.)
  • Potential customer or user interviews
  • Patent research
  • Analysis of competing brands and products
  • Locate potential sources of funding

After the successful completion of the program, teams may decide to launch their startup or choose whether or not to pursue commercialization through further NSF I-Corps funding of up to $50,000. This can be accomplished by attending short courses held by NSF I-Corps Nodes and also applying for the NSF I-Corps National Program. These programs are much more intensive and rigorous than the NSF I-Corps Site Program. 

Mentors

Teams work closely with an assigned mentor with technical and industry expertise to provide assistance throughout the program. Mentors and teams will meet regularly to monitor progress and provide guidance through customer discovery and business development.

NSF Team Composition

The standard NSF I-Corps Program proposed that each team be composed of a Principal Investigator (PI), that is a lead researcher and an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL), that is a business startup lead. The Simone Center requires both a lead researcher and an entrepreneurial lead, but allows for larger and diverse commercialization teams depending on the project.

Concept Maturity and Viability

Incoming I-Corps teams typically possess various levels of business and technology readiness levels. There are no particular “right” levels for entering the program. The Simone Center will screen each team and project to determine their appropriateness for the program. Once accepted into the program, each team will be required to provide a completed “project maturity” assessment to explore the state of customer discovery, business model and technology advancement.