What is I-Corps? Funding for Translational Research
OSU I-Corps Site
The I-Corps Site at Oklahoma State University (OSU) helps catalyze I-Corps teams locally from Oklahoma’s academic institutions, whose technology concepts are likely candidates for commercialization. The OSU I-Corps Site provides advice, resources, network opportunities, and training, in addition to up to $3,000 per team in NSF funding to help commercialization efforts and application to an I-Corps Node National Cohort. The OSU I-Corps Site team's NSF funding can be used for approved expenses such as Lean Launchpad training, customer travel, entrepreneurial training, or prototyping materials and qualifies a team as having received NSF funding which is required to apply to an I-Corps Node National Cohort. After completion of the site program, an application can be made to the national program which provides $50,000 for travel. The I-CORPS site program improves SBIR/STTR odds by an average of 40% leading to higher penetration of the $1.62M of NSF funding available for commercialization of the project.
I-Corps Site Program Benefits
- Up to $3,000 NSF funding available for customer travel, entrepreneurial training, and/or prototyping materials
- Establish an initial business model and product-market fit
- Develop entrepreneurial skills including how to best engage customers
- Formulate an I-Corps team with required members
- Prepare for I-Corps Node National Cohort application
- Gain eligibility to apply for a I-Corps Node National Cohort and its $50,000 grant award if no prior NSF lineage
I-CORPS Time Requirements
The program lasts three weeks and has one lecture each week. Teams will allocate independent time for customer discovery interviews and will watch self-paced videos prior to the first week of I-Corps. The $3,000 pays for travel costs for team members to speak with customers during customer interviews; the is awarded after a short application that only includes the participants and a summary of the project is submitted via the apply link. We will be hosting a cohort in February, July and September 2020
I-Corps Team Composition
- The I-Corps teams is only required to be two individuals (EL and TL) but can be up to four members.
The Technical Lead (TL) will typically be a faculty member, senior research scientist or postdoctoral scholar with deep and direct technical expertise in the actual core technology about which the I-Corps team is exploring commercial potential.
The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) could be a postdoctoral scholar, graduate or other student, staff member, researcher, or other personnel 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, the EL could also be the proposal TL. The Entrepreneurial Lead should also be capable and have the will to support the transition of the technology, should the I-Corps Teams project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability.
The I-Corps Teams Mentor (IM) will typically be an experienced entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of academic labs. The I-Corps Teams Mentor should be a third-party resource and may be recommended by the proposing institution. The I-Corps Teams Mentor will be responsible for advising the team on its progress through I-Corps and will usually have contacts in the industry area(s) being explored. Other than their direct expenses for program participation, Mentors are not compensated through I-Corps Teams awards – Mentors are part of a volunteer cadre of entrepreneurs. (This role is not required at the Site level, but is required at the Node/National level.)
Teams may have an additional member in the role of co-EL, co-TL, or co-IM.