Success Story

Accelerate your research impact with NSF I-Corps Short Course

Penn State’s NSF I-Corps Short Course is accepting applications for its virtual January cohort. The no-cost program helps researchers test a startup idea through customer interviews and educational programming on the lean startup methodology. The cohort will begin on January 5 and runs through January 19. This course is being offered as a collaboration between multiple universities in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Penn State. 

Participants must apply and complete a self-guided I-Corps prep mini-course by Wednesday, December 20. 

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. Through I-Corps training, researchers can reduce the time it takes to translate a promising idea from the laboratory to the marketplace.   

The short course will expose participants to key stakeholders and funding resources in the entrepreneurship community, increase chances of receiving an SBIR/STTR award, and put participants in an excellent position to apply for the National I-Corps Program that provides $50,000 in funding to assist with customer discovery.   

Penn State biomedical engineering doctoral candidate Josh Reynolds participated in the fall 2023 NSF I-Corps short course program to connect with and learn from potential customers. Reynolds, along with his research lab mates, is striving to overcome drug resistance and accelerate drug discovery efforts in the fight against cancer with his startup, Atlas Biotech. The research team hopes to participate in the National I-Corps program in 2024.  

“The short course was a fantastic opportunity to make sure there is a market demand for what we’re trying to do,” Reynolds said. “The scientific approach of the lean startup methodology they teach was really appealing to me. I also got to talk to a lot of incredible people in industry and hear a lot of different perspectives. The instructors and guest speakers were also great – they were experienced business professionals who’ve done all this before, and they provided us with a lot of really useful insights.” 

Read more about Reynold’s I-Corps experience.   

Penn State teams are also welcome to apply to other regional short course offerings from the broader Mid-Atlantic region. Contact the Penn State NSF I-Corps Program Manager, Derek Gross, to find the best solution for your team.   

Learn more about NSF I-Corps at Penn State.   

About NSF I-Corps    

Penn State University is part of the NSF I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Hub, a network of universities, NSF-funded researchers, established entrepreneurs, local and regional entrepreneurial communities, and other federal agencies. Hubs work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem throughout the United States.