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New NSF Program Promises to Boost Commercialization of Academic Research

August 03, 2011

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, a public-private partnership, intends to connect NSF-funded scientific research with a project team, made up of professionals from the technological, entrepreneurial and business communities, to help transition NSF-funded scientific and engineering discoveries at institutions of higher education into commercial technologies, products and processes. I-Corps grants will provide financial support to project teams in determining the commercialization potential of the technologies developed through previous or current NSF awards. Each I-Corps team will include a principal investigator, an entrepreneurial lead and an I-Corps mentor. The outcome of each I-Corps funded project will be:

  • A clear go/no-go decision regarding viability of products and services;
  • A transition plan to do so (only if the decision is to move forward); and
  • A technology demonstration for potential partners.


In consultation with the I-Corps Cognizant Program directors, the go/no-go decision of the proposed effort will be made by the I-Corps Team.

In 2011, NSF anticipates committing $1.25 million to support up to 25 I-Corps grant awards. The duration of each award is six months. NSF only will support academic research projects that are currently or previously have been funded by NSF awards. The deadline for the first round of I-Corps funding is September 9, 2011. Read the Funding Opportunity Announcement...

NSF also will host monthly webinars — on the first Tuesday of every month at 2:00 PM, EST — to answer questions about I-Corp and provide updated information about the I-Corps Mentor Network, the curriculum and other aspects of I-Corps. Learn more about the webinars...

NSF, the Deshpande Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation are founding members of the I-Corps public/private partnership, along with a national network of advisors and partnering institutions. Read the press release...

Virginiansf, entrepreneurship, commercialization