NSF I-Corps teaches university entrepreneurs to identify opportunities from academic research and offers entrepreneurship training.

Illinois I-Corps

Contact Info

Jed Taylor
Executive Director
Technology Entrepreneur Center

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 College of Engineering, EnterpriseWorks at the Research Park, with participation from the Office of Technology Management, and IllinoisVentures.

I-Corps at the University of Illinois at 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 position to apply to the National I-Corps program where they receive $50,000 dollars and participate in a rigorous 7 week program, or perphaps 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 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

Cohort #25
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis

  • Class Meeting Schedule (all classes meet 10:00am-12:45pm)
    • Wed., Sept. 4, 2019
    • Wed., Sept. 18, 2019
    • Wed., Oct. 2, 2019

Cohort #26
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis

  • Class Meeting Schedule (all classes meet 10:00am-12:45pm)
    • Wed., Nov. 6, 2019
    • Wed., Nov. 20, 2019
    • Wed., Dec. 4, 2019


Site Leadership

Technology Entrepreneur Center

The Grainger College of Engineering

351 Coordinated Science Lab, MC-228
1308 W. Main Street
Urbana, IL 61801

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