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. The Illinois I-Corps program offers 4 cohorts a year (2 per semester) on a rolling submission application cycle. The program comprises 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 may be eligible to explore applying to the National I-Corps program where they receive $50,000 dollars and participate in a rigorous 7-week program, or apply for an SBIR grant.
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 Program
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 | Tuesdays | March 9, 23, April 6, 20 | 9:00-11:00am CT
Cohort 33 | Wednesdays | June 2, 16, 30, July 14 | 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