Entrepreneurship &Innovation

Iowa State I-Corps Program

What is I-Corps?

The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program is an initiative to transition NSF-funded research from the laboratory to a product in the marketplace.

I-Corps Sites act as a training ground for faculty, postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students to learn how to increase the impact of their research by exploring the commercial potential of their research and technology.

Iowa State’s I-Corps Site

Iowa State became an I-Corps Site in fall 2017. The program is a collaboration between the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations.

Iowa State’s I-Corps Site program aims to embed a stronger and more pervasive culture of entrepreneurship and innovation across the entire campus community. The ISU I-Corps Site focuses on translating discoveries that reflect its strengths in engineering, biorenewables, materials science and agriculture, food and nutrition, and veterinary medicine.

The program enhances entrepreneurship and innovation already happening across campus, fosters connections with other Midwest I-Corps Sites, and helps strengthen the nation’s innovation fabric.

The four-week curriculum focuses on customer discovery to support the transition of ideas, devices, processes, or intellectual activities into the marketplace. This can be realized through the formation of new start-up businesses, licensing agreements, or identifying funding sources to support additional research.

How to Apply

Thirty teams will be selected through a competitive process each year. Each team consists of:

  • Entrepreneurial lead: Graduate student or post-doc
  • Academic lead: Faculty member or other qualified scientist
  • Mentor: Experienced or emerging entrepreneur

In addition to offering industry exposure and entrepreneurial training for participating teams, the ISU I-Corps Site will provide advice, resources, networking opportunities, and infrastructure for exploring commercialization opportunities. I-Corps will work with existing entrepreneurial endeavors at Iowa State, including the infrastructure and resources at Economic Development and Industry Relations, such as the ISU Startup Factory.

To apply to participate in the ISU I-Corps Site program, please complete the online application. Selected applications will be invited to participate in a review panel to make final determinations of cohort members.

Teams that are accepted into the program and participate in all sessions are eligible to receive a microgrant of up to $3,000 to support customer discovery efforts. Fill out the microgrant application here.

Additional questions? Contact icorps@iastate.edu

ISU Site Team


Lead Instructor