I-Corps Site Team Requirements

Teams formed under the auspices of an I-Corps Site should include an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL), a Principal Investigator (PI), and a Mentor.

  • The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) could be a Post-Doctoral scholar, graduate student, undergraduate or other student, or professional staff, with relevant knowledge of the technology and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. In rare circumstances, with approval of a cognizant NSF I-Corps Program Officer, it also could be a faculty member. The Entrepreneurial Lead should also be capable and have the will to support the transition of the technology, should the project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability.
  • The Mentor (M) will typically be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of academic labs. The Mentor is a third-party resource and may be recommended by the proposing institution or may be an employee of the institution. The Mentor will be responsible for guiding the team forward and tracking progress.
  • The Principal Investigator (PI) will be responsible for overall project management. The PI must have an academic appointment that would normally qualify the AL to submit proposals or play the role of a PI in subsequent submissions to NSF.

I-Corps Site Projects

Site team ideas or projects can originate from student work, research (funded or unfunded), institutional, or industrial projects. The topical focus of a project must be in an area(s) of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) normally supported by the National Science Foundation.

I-Corps Site Team Support

The scope of the funding that an I-Corps Site may expend on teams can include, but is not limited to: acquisition of modest amounts of equipment or materials needed to fabricate prototypes; travel expenses to consult with potential clients or experts; training or education related to entrepreneurial immersion; or, other resources needed to directly advance the goals of transitioning a team’s project into the marketplace. I-Corps Site support for an institution’s entrepreneurial teams should not be used for legal or administrative costs. Exceptions to the direct support of teams can be made for the costs of planning technical meetings for the direct benefit of entrepreneurial teams, providing those meetings contribute to the commercialization of team projects.