The NSF National Deaf Innovation Challenge

NSF National Deaf Innovation Challenge

Sponsored by NSF I-Corps Grant

Administered by the Simone Center and National Technical Institute for the Deaf



This competition, open to teams of deaf and hard of hearing college students, will showcase the innovation ideas of entrepreneurial deaf students across the country. These innovation ideas will be for technological solutions that are STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) based.

For the first phase, each team submits a 10 minute video describing their idea. The top two winning college teams will receive $3000 in I-corps funding to develop their idea. The I-Corps program and curriculum are designed to advance early stage commercialization of products in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition, each team will receive prototyping assistance, training, mentoring from qualified I-corps coaches to help them further strengthen their innovation. All training and mentoring will occur online and through accessible videos and other video technology.

For the second and the final phase, the two final teams will submit a second video after their idea has been refined through the I-corps training program and mentoring. A team of judges will select one winning team to be the National Deaf Innovation Challenge champion. This winning team will then receive an additional 10 weeks of personalized coaching and mentoring through the I-corps program. In addition, the winning team will receive an additional $3,000 in funds for prototyping or customer discovery travel.

Applications are now open! Click HERE to apply now!


Each team, represented by a college, must be made up of at least two deaf and/or hard of hearing members or is led by a deaf or hard of hearing student. Team members must be matriculated full-time at the representative college at the time of submission of application. Members of the team must be committed for up to one year to receive coaching from I-Corps.

More than one team from a single college or university are permitted.

Each team must have a coach, or another designated representative from the college program. A coach may be a member of the faculty, staff or another designated representative.

The idea cannot be based on an already existing operational business venture.

The idea must be STEM based (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math).

For more information, contact Scot Atkins.