NSF I-Corps Site Program

I-Corps Site Program.

Transition your technology from the lab to the marketplace.

About I-Corps

NSF I-Corps.

The I-Corps program is an initiative developed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that teaches researchers and innovators how to evaluate a technology or idea for the marketplace. An important goal of the I-Corps program is to encourage technical entrepreneurship and teach teams how to think about commercialization.

The I-Corps Site Program at University at Buffalo provides resources to teams in the form of:

  • Modest Funding ($1000-3500)
  • Training on Market Assessment
  • Entrepreneurial Business Mentoring
  • Other assets needed to transition ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace

In this program, teams will get out of the laboratory/university and engage in conversations with a variety of people connected to the deployment and use of the technology, product or service.

Benefits of I-Corps

The program may assist you in:

  • Broadening your network
  • Discovering a market not previously considered
  • Increasing the probability of grant success 
  • Commercialize idea or pivot
  • Launch a startup business 
  • Gain a licensing agreement
  • Preparing for the NSF’s National I-Corps Program

Most of all, you will walk away with knowledge of how to assess the commercial viability of any new technical advancement.

Eligibility & Requirements

Affiliation

  • UB faculty member
  • UB student or group working with a UB faculty member
  • Group closely affiliated with a UB organization or program
  • Staff, clinician, faculty or student of an Innovation Hub Partner Institution

Technology

I-Corps is ideal for a technology or idea in alignment with what the NSF typically funds as part of its mission, however is open to all technology areas.

I-Corps is perfect for:

  • Early-stage projects looking to assess a commercial opportunity
  • University researchers that are in the process of or have filed an invention disclosure
  • SBIR/STTR Phase I awardees
  • Companies looking to commercialize new technologies

Team Composition

It is strongly encouraged that participants apply to this program as a team of at least two people and no more than four.  A typical team consists of at least one scientific or technological expert (scientific leader) who is responsible for the team's idea and at least one student, alumni, staff or post-doctoral fellow interested in conducting entrepreneurial research and directing group efforts.  The entrepreneurial leader does not need to have business experience, but is committed to leading or organizing team activities during the I-Corps Site. 

Commitment

Each I-Corps team attends a kickoff session, two training sessions and a final presentation session.  In between sessions, team members are expected to meet with mentor and/or teaching team as well as committing several hours per week to market research, customer discovery and other commercialization- focused activities. The program culminates in a presentation by each team on how business ideas have developed throughout the program as a result of obtaining 25+ customer discovery interviews.

Our Success

The program has been a tremendous success giving technical experts a valuable and entirely different professional experience on their path to commercialize their technological triumphs.

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6+ New Companies have been formed

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Millions of dollars in prizes and grants awarded to companies

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11 teams awarded more than $800,000 in Buffalo Accelerator Fund grants

that will help commercialize their technologies (tasks largely informed by I-Corps customer engagements)

Applications not open at this time

Check back to apply for an upcoming cohort. 

*In order to access the UB I-Corps Site Program application form, you will need to set up and account with Survey Monkey Apply if you do not already have one. This is the platform the Innovation Hub utilizes to manage applicants to a variety of our programs. 

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I-Corps is a prerequisite for the Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund as it strengthens the proposal by providing insights on the market and commercial potential.

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Welcoming all students, alumni, faculty and staff, regardless of discipline, experience or degree program. Because with the tools, resources and network available through Blackstone LaunchPad and our partners, anyone can be an entrepreneur.