Applications will close September 29 for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Fall Regional. It will be held at the University of Tennessee (UT) from October 3 – 19, 2017. This intensive two-week program is designed by I-Corps South to help individuals who are interested in commercializing their research to build a business model that addresses their customers’ needs. The curriculum will cover the customer discovery process, developing a value proposition, and creating a business plan. The program also serves as an informal kick-off for UT’s participation in the I-Corps South Node, one of eight regional networks developed to support innovation education, infrastructure, and research.
Teams of 2-4 people are invited to fill out an application, found at http://icorpssouth.com/registration/for the opportunity to participate in the Fall Regional. Potential applicants must be located in the Southeast and have an interest in commercializing research. University-based teams are preferred, though not required. The application period is open now through September 29, 2017. Instructors for the program include UT’s Shawn Carson, the University of Tennessee Research Foundation’s (UTRF) Maha Krishnamurthy, and two instructors from I-CorpsNational.
The Fall Regional kicks-off on October 3 with a half day workshop at the University of UTRF’s Business Incubator on UT’s Agriculture Campus. Over two weeks, teams will conduct a series of interviews with prospective customers to identify their needs and meet with mentors from the instructional team during virtual office hours. The program wraps up on October 19 when participants reconvene to share what they have learned.
The NSF I-Corps program was established in 2011 to help scientists and engineers to think beyond the laboratory and identify opportunities for translating research into commercial products that can benefit society. Hundreds of teams from across the country have participated in the national program, spending 6-7 weeks interviewing customers and businesses to answer the question: what do our customers need and does it align with our research? Teams that successfully complete the program are awarded $50,000.
UT is a partner in I-Corps South, whose members include the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
UT I-Corps South is co-sponsored by UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haslam College of Business and UTRF.