NSF awards $3.5 million to increase diversity in entrepreneurship

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NSF will support diversity and inclusion in the I-Corps program

September 13, 2019

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the National GEM Consortium $3.5 million to develop national diversity and inclusion infrastructure for the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program. The three-year agreement will run from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022.

With the support of NSF, GEM is piloting a three-year initiative highlighting innovation pathways for underrepresented researchers. GEM will leverage their extensive network of universities, companies, students, and alumni through innovative local outreach activities illuminating pathways within the I-Corps National Innovation Network to increase participation of underrepresented groups in the I-Corps entrepreneurial training and innovation activities.

GEM has also partnered with researchers to evaluate the experiences and challenges faced by underrepresented tech entrepreneurs toward augmenting the I-Corps infrastructure to support a more diverse population. The initiative has the potential to transform diversity in the NSF I-Corps program and enhance underrepresented minority involvement in other NSF startup and innovation activities.

“It is a great honor to be given the opportunity to work with the National Science Foundation in this capacity,” said GEM CEO, Brennon Marcano. “The I-Corps program is very well-known nationally in the entrepreneurial space and so to be able to work within that infrastructure and with the distinguished individuals within that program is a process that we at GEM are definitely looking forward to.”

About I-Corps: The NSF I-Corps program was established in 2011, and connects scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs. In 2017, its expansion was formally authorized under the AICA American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA, Public Law 114-329, Sec. 601). Visit www.nsf.gov/icorps for more information.

About The National GEM Consortium: The mission of the National GEM Consortium is to enhance the value of the nation's human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups (African Americans, American Indians and Hispanic Americans) at the master's and doctoral levels in engineering and science. We are a unique and powerful connection to a national network of universities and employers. This partnership promotes the participation of underrepresented groups in post-graduate STEM education and the technical workforce. The employees shaping our nation's ability to remain a global leader in innovation and economic prosperity must fully utilize the talents of all Americans and reflect the country's changing demographics.

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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