National Science Foundation I-Corps

The NSF I-Corps program uses experiential education to help researchers gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, starting a business or industry requirements and challenges. Participants learn valuable skills in connecting with customers, asking the right questions, and how to find partners to help get startup ideas off the ground.

Apply to the September 2024 Virtual Short Course

How to Get Involved

Penn State is a proud partner of the NSF I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Hub working collaboratively with other regional universities to build and sustain diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystems throughout the United States. Ways to engage:

  • Apply for a regional or local cohort – Penn State and other hub institutions welcome short course cohort teams throughout the academic year on a rolling basis to help researchers test a startup idea through customer discovery and lean startup methodology. Learn more about the I-Corps program.
  • Apply for the NSF National I-Corps program – teams that successfully complete a regional or local short course may be eligible to apply for the national NSF I-Corps program and up to $50,000 to assist with customer discovery. Learn more about the national program.
  • Attend upcoming trainings – attend an upcoming event to learn more about the benefits of participating in the I-Corps program. View upcoming events.

Benefits of Participation

The NSF I-Corps program will help you:

  • Better understand why technology has value and to whom
  • Explore taking new technology to the marketplace
  • Be in an excellent position to apply to the National I-Corps Program — where you’ll have $50,000 in support to conduct customer discovery
  • Increase chances of receiving an SBIR/STTR award
  • Expose you to key stakeholders and funders in the entrepreneurship community
  • Gain support for applying to follow-on programs

Learn more about the NSF I-Corps Program

Apply for the I-Corps Short Course

As part of the NSF I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Hub, Penn State offers several short, intense, bootcamp-style cohorts in the short course program. Participants work closely with teammates, other teams, and with mentors and instructors to develop business models around their innovations.

Be a part of an upcoming cohort

Apply for the National Teams Program

Teams that successfully complete a regional I-Corps short course program may be eligible to apply for the national NSF I-Corps program. Those accepted into the national program receive up to $50,000 to assist with customer discovery and to cover the expenses of all team members attending the opening and closing workshops.

Learn more about the national teams program

Penn State I-Corps Success Stories

Penn State is proud of the researchers who have successfully completed the regional short course program and gone on to participate in the National Teams program.

Click the links below to read about their stories:

I-Corps Funding Reimbursement

If you were previously approved for a $3,000 or $5,000 I-Corps grant and require reimbursement to cover customer discovery or initial prototyping efforts, please click here to review the reimbursement guidelines to learn how to submit for reimbursement.

Note: as part of the transition from an NSF I-Corps site to hub model, we will not be accepting any reimbursement requests for transitions after December 31, 2022.