The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) aims to develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem by helping discoveries from fundamental research to become new technologies that benefit society. I-Corps Teams offer the technical, entrepreneurial, and business know-how to launch technological innovations; I-Corps Nodes provide the education and infrastructure to serve the teams and regional innovation; and I-Corps Sites spur small groups to explore technology transition with local guidance and resources. Together, the I-Corps Teams, Nodes, and Sites form the National Innovation Network.
I-Corps Teams have three essential members: the principal investigator, the entrepreneurial lead and the mentor. Over a period of six months, each I-Corps Team learns what it will take to achieve an economic impact with their particular innovation. The I-Corps Curriculum enables Teams to systematically identify and address knowledge gaps in order to understand the most appropriate path forward for their technology concept.
I-Corps Nodes are designed to support regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure and research. The I-Corps Nodes will work cooperatively to build, utilize and sustain a national innovation ecosystem that further enhances the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society. The interconnected nodes of this network may be diverse in research areas, resources, tools, programs, capabilities and in geographic locations, while the network will have the flexibility to grow or reconfigure as needs arise.
I-Corps Sites aim to nurture and support multiple, local teams to transition their technology concepts into the marketplace. The Sites will provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training and modest funding to enable groups to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants. The Sites also will strengthen their local innovation ecosystems and contribute to a national network of mentors, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.