Transition your technology idea from the lab to the marketplace

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 program at University at Buffalo provides resources to teams in the form of curriculum on market assessment, entrepreneurial mentoring, and 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.

I-Corps Program.

Program Benefits

UB participates as a site for both the NSF I-Corps and the I-Corps @ NCATS (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences) supported by the NIH (National Institutes of Health). Both programs are comprised of a short course, which combines business model training with a customer discovery process. The short course helps prepare teams to apply to go on to a national program at NSF or NIH, and are designed to help all participants, regardless of the stage of development of their innovation. While the principles of both programs are generally the same, each has some unique eligibility, requirements and goals.  

Review Our Programs:

NSF I-Corps I-Corps @ NCATS


I-Corps @ NCATS

  • Determine the commercial viability of your innovation
  • Define the potential market and customers
  • Develop a successful business case for securing funding 
  • Expand your network of innovation partners, mentors and potential collaborators
  • Create a pathway to transition into a real world application
  • Develop a new way of thinking about your research


I-Corps @ NCATS

  • UB faculty member
  • UB student or group working with a UB faculty member
  • Group closely affiliated with a UB organization or program
  • Teams of staff, clinician, faculty, nurses and/or students with biomedical innovations or ideas 

I-Corps @NCATS is ideal for a technology or idea in the Life Sciences, such as therapeutics, biologics, diagnostics, devices or health IT/services. 


I-Corps @ NCATS

  • 2+ team members - consisting of an Entrepreneurial Lead (undergrad, grad, Ph.D. student who will move the project forward) and a Technical Lead (typically be a faculty member, senior research scientist or postdoctoral scholar with deep and direct technical expertise in the actual core technology about which the I-Corps team is exploring commercial potential)
  • Must be able to attend all workshop dates and attend office hours 
  • Have a tech innovation in any STEM-BioMed field and want to explore its commercialization potential
  • Willing to find and talk to at least 30 potential customers in five weeks
  • Interest in applying for the Nationals I-Corps Teams program and $50,000 grant


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.

6+ new companies have been formed

Millions of dollars in prizes and grants awarded to companies

15 teams awarded more than $1.1M in Buffalo Accelerator Fund grants*

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

Additional resources for startup growth

Accelerator Fund.

Move technology innovations with commercial potential closer to market with support from the Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund.

Mercedes Wilson of Sadie's Relish.

Get up to $100,000 in pre-seed startup capital and help from experienced entrepreneurs through the UB Cultivator.


Start your own business or explore entrepreneurship as a career path with expertise and resources from Blackstone LaunchPad, our student entrepreneurship program.