National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Teams: Why? What? How?

National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Teams: Why? What? How?

This workshop is for potential NSF I-Corps Principal Investigators.NSF I-Corps PIs must have been PI on a previous NSF award (current or expired no more than 5 years ago).

January 31, 2014, Campus Center’s Hadley Room (CC1001) noon to 1:30pm

The NSF’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program is one of six priority investments highlighted in the agency’s 2014 budget request. The program consists of:

“… a set of activities and programs that prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects.”[1]

Today’s workshop provides information on:

·         Why it is important to participate in an I-Corps team.

·         What to expect from the application process and team experience.

·         How to form a team and recruit a business mentor.

·         What each role on the team requires.

·         Support for team formation and proposal development (this semester only).

NSF I-Corps teams require a PI, an “Entrepreneurial Lead,” and a business mentor. Faculty members typically assume the PI role.

Based on Stanford University’s highly-regarded, internationally recognized Lean Launch Pad curriculum for hypothesis-driven customer discovery, the I-Corps curriculum provides guidance and activities that help teams develop the knowledge and judgment needed to assess the commercial potential of their technologies.

PIs are NOT expected or encouraged to become entrepreneurs. Instead, the program is designed to facilitate a Go/No-Go decision regarding future technology commercialization, licensing, and/or business formation efforts by the Entrepreneurial Lead and/or others.

The speakers at this workshop are:

·         Karen Utgoff, Principal, Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting

·         Sundar Krishnamurty, Professor of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and Director of the Center for e-Design.

Professor Krishnamurty was the first UMass Amherst PI to receive an I-Corps award. Ms. Utgoff was the business mentor on the team. In an October 2012 story ( on the project Professor Krishnamurthy noted that, “Participation in I-Corps provides an opportunity to learn about commercialization methods that offer another route for disseminating our research beyond the usual vehicles of teaching students and publishing academic papers.”