About NSF I-Corps
National Science Foundation's (NSF) Innovation Corps or I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches university faculty and student entrepreneurs with a targeted curriculum to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and provides entrepreneurship training to participants. The Illinois I-Corps Site is a collaboration between the Technology Entrepreneur Center in The Grainger College of Engineering, EnterpriseWorks at the Research Park, with participation from the Office of Technology Management, and IllinoisVentures.
Technology Entrepreneur Center
I-Corps at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Faculty and students working on STEM-related technology can participate in the I-Corps program and receive up to $2,000 to participate in the customer discovery process of their innovation. The Illinois I-Corps Site offers 4 cohorts a year (2 per semester) on a rolling submission application cycle. Each team is supported with an I-Corps grant of up to $2,000 to cover travel and prototyping costs. The program consists of 3 workshops over 6 weeks, where teams work to validate the market size, value propositions, and customer segments of their innovations.
Upon completion of the program, teams are in a position to apply to the National I-Corps program where they receive $50,000 dollars and participate in a rigorous 7-week program, or perhaps apply for an SBIR award.
Students are also encouraged to participate in one of the many Technology Entrepreneurship courses on campus that offer the I-Corps methodology, including TE 250: From Idea to Enterprise which was developed based on the I-Corps program.
Benefits of Participating in the Illinois I-Corps Program
There are many benefits from participating in the I-Corps program, including:
- Mentoring from local experts
- Validation of Market Size, Value Proposition, Customer Segment
- Engage with campus entrepreneurial ecosystem
- Seed Funding (up to $2k)
- Opportunity to be referred to the $50k NSF National I-Corps program
- NSF I-Corps curriculum based on the Lean Launchpad methodology
- Dramatically improving the chance for equity-free funding:
- SBIR Phase 1 ($225k)
- SBIR Phase 2 ($750K)
- SBIR Phase 2B ($500K)
Cohort Schedule & Application Deadlines for the Illinois I-Corps Site
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If you don't have availability for the cohort dates listed, please apply and we'll notify you of the upcoming cohort dates at a later time.
Cohort 32 | Thursdays | February 11, 25, March 11, 25 | 9:00-11:00am CT
Cohort 33 | Wednesdays | May 19, June 2, 16, 30 | 9:00-11:00am CT
Cohort 34 | Thursdays | September 2, 16, 30, October 14 | 9:00-11:00am CT
Cohort 35 | Wednesdays | October 6, 20, November 3, 17 | 9:00-11:00am CT
Faculty Director and PI of I-Corps Site
Executive Director of Illinois I-Corps Programs, Site Instructor, and Co-PI of I-Corps Site