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National Science Foundation
I-Corp - NSF Innovation Corps

I-Corps Node Attributes

I-Corps Nodes are designed to support regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure, and research. The 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 Nodes will contribute to the innovation network in the following three ways:


I-Corps Nodes will demonstrate the capacity to deliver an innovation-enhancing training program based on the hypothesis/validation "customer discovery" curriculum used to support NSF I-Corps Teams. I-Corps Nodes will nurture and support teams that are transitioning their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace.


Proposers are expected to identify models, to be leveraged for broad dissemination and implementation, of effective innovation content, curricula, and teaching/learning practices -- detailing the specific activities, goals and measurable outcomes that will be associated with the proposed efforts.

Proposers should consider how such activities will benefit the innovation network and how other nodes would be able to utilize/leverage their prospective Level 2 contributions.


I-Corps Nodes will identify and pursue longer-term (3+ year) research and development projects that meet the goals of the I-Corps program. Proposers will identify teams or individuals for these projects that are inclusive of faculty and researchers from the node institution(s).

These teams or individuals can work independently or in collaboration with I-Corps instructors or I-Corps staff. At least one of the projects must be led by faculty or researchers who are not I-Corps instructors or I-Corps staff personnel.

Nodes should have the following features:

  • Coordination of innovation research, education, outreach and commercial development programs across the network;
  • Appropriate mixture of geographically distributed personnel and institutions that provide diverse and complementary capabilities to support current and anticipated needs for fostering innovation across a broad spectrum of science and engineering domains;
  • Effective management structure to ensure close linkage and cooperation among the nodes such that they operate as a cohesive national network;
  • Seamless methods of network operation that support projects across the network, through development and utilization of compatible internet-based networking/collaboration tools;
  • Dissemination of shared knowledge to research and development communities;
  • Promotion of diversity among students, faculty, staff, management, and outreach activities;
  • Methods for assessment and metrics of node/network performance and impact;
  • Planning processes to accommodate emerging areas and future growth of external/internal node participants, (e.g., adding/removing participants to/from the network);
  • and
  • Fostering of additional support from non-NSF sources, including other Federal agencies, State governments, and the private sector.

A full description of the NSF Innovation Corps Regional Nodes (I-Corps Nodes), I-Corps proposal instructions and other essential information are available in the I-Corps Nodes solicitation.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.