This opportunity is closed.

  • Internal: 11/08/2017
  • Proposal: 02/08/2018


  • Amount: up to $100,000/year
  • Duration: up to 5 years


The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem that builds upon research to guide the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society.

In order to contribute to a national innovation ecosystem, NSF established the NSF Innovation Corps Sites Program (NSF I-Corps Sites). Sites are funded at academic institutions, having already existing innovation or entrepreneurial units, to enable them to:

  • Nurture students and/or faculty who are engaged in projects having the potential to be transitioned into the marketplace. I-Corps Sites will provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training and modest funding to enable groups to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants.
  • Develop formal, active, local innovation ecosystems that contribute to a larger, national network of mentors, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors. Networking is an essential component of all of NSF’s I-Corps activities – local and national networking activities help advance the goals of I-Corps and contribute to local and national ecosystems for innovation.

The purpose of an I-Corps Site is to nurture and support multiple, local teams to transition their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace.

There are two types of I-Corps Site proposals:

  • Type I – Type I proposals are submitted by institutions that have not had prior funding as an I-Corps Site. These proposals may request $100,000 per year for up to five years.
  • Type II – Type II proposals are submitted by institutions that have had prior funding as an I-Corps Site. These proposals may request up to $100,000 per year for up to three years.

The I-Corps Sites Program funds an institution’s entrepreneurial unit. The unit, in turn, provides resources for the creation, development, and nurturing of entrepreneurial teams. Teams formed under the auspices of an I-Corps Site should include an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL), an Academic Lead (AL), and a Mentor.

The Entrepreneurial Lead could be a postdoctoral scholar, graduate student, undergraduate or other student, or professional staff, with relevant knowledge of the technology and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. In rare circumstances, with approval of a cognizant NSF I-Corps Program Officer, it also could be a faculty member. The EL should also be capable and have the will to support the transition of the technology, should the project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability.

The Mentor will typically be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of academic labs. The Mentor is a third-party resource and may be recommended by the proposing institution or may be an employee of the institution. The Mentor will be responsible for guiding the team forward and tracking progress.

The Academic Lead will be responsible for overall project management. The AL must have an academic appointment that would normally qualify the AL to submit proposals or play the role of a PI in subsequent submissions to NSF.


Eligibility & Submission Requirements

Organizations may only be a participant in one proposal per deadline.  If interested in submitting, please contact Karen Drew (-4824) as soon as possible and submit a pre-proposal following the NU Procedure for Programs with Limited Submissions.

The PI must be the Academic Lead, and have an academic appointment that would qualify them to submit proposals to NSF.