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I-Corps @ UMass

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program is designed to empower UMass Lowell faculty, researchers, and students to test the commercial potential of their research and ideas.

I-Corps also prepares scientists and engineers to expand their focus beyond the laboratory and increase the impact of basic research. There are two ways to participate in I-Corps @ UMass Lowell:

I-Corps Site

Teams start with research-based concepts and use interviews with potential customers to understand the potential of launching a startup. Site team ideas or projects can originate from student work, research (funded or unfunded), institutional, or industrial projects. All eligible projects must be STEM based.

Both faculty and students from University of Massachusetts Lowell, The University of Massachusetts Medical School, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Middlesex Community College are highly encouraged to participate in this program.

This program provides participants with:

  • NSF linage for future grant participation
  • Provide basic training around customer interview skills,
  • Networking opportunities,
  • Training and modest funding (up to $3,000 per team) to enable groups to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants.

Apply now!

Supported with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and run by the New Venture Development Office, the I-Corps program is specifically designed for participants working on projects related NSF I-Corps. Participants are not required to have previous experience in business or entrepreneurship in order to be accepted into the I-Corps program.

I-Corp Teams

Upon completion of the I-Corps Site program or as a stand alone opportunity, NVD supports participants that are eligible to apply for the NSF I-Corps Team program (an intensive six-week NSF training with the opportunity to be awarded a $50,000 grant). Contact UMass Lowell NVD for eligibility requirements after reviewing the information on the NSF I-Corps Teams Page.

The goals of this program are to spur translation of fundamental research, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train students to understand innovation and entrepreneurship. The purpose of the NSF I-Corps program is to identify NSF-funded researchers who will receive additional support - in the form of mentoring and funding - to accelerate the translation of knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and services that can attract subsequent third-party funding.

The UMass I-Corps will help facilitate team formation and find ways to help connect faculty with students, students with faculty, and all teams with industry-based mentors.

The outcome of the I-Corps projects will be threefold:

  1. a clear go/no go decision regarding viability of products and services,
  2. should the decision be to move the effort forward, a transition plan to do so, and
  3. a technology demonstration for potential partners.

The go/no go decision of the proposed effort will be made by the I-Corps team (that includes the Principal Investigator, the Entrepreneurial Lead, and the I-Corps Mentor ) in consultation with the I-Corps Cognizant Program Directors.

This grant provides NVD with annual funding for the next three years to distribute to selected I-Corps applicant teams. These funds will be split among 30 teams per year to help them move innovative research toward commercialization. Each team grant will last for one to three months and can total up to $3,000.

The I-Corps prioritization of identifying intellectual property with the greatest potential for social and economic impact and then moving it towards commercialization is directly in line with UMass Lowell New Venture Development’s mission.

I-Corps funds will be designated for such teams working on UMass-connected technologies, including:

  • Inventions arising out of the work of UMass-employed researchers and faculty.
  • Technologies being developed by companies connected to the NVD through the UMass Innovation Hub (IHUB) and the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center incubator M2D2.
  • Student-developed technology innovations that demonstrate the potential for commercial and social impact.

For more information regarding the I-Corp program at UMass please contact Nancy Saucier.