On July 28th, 2011, the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a new funding program titled Innovation Corps, or “I-Corps”.
The I-Corps program will provide up to 100 grants per year that will form teams of experienced principal investigators, entrepreneurial leads, and private industry mentors. The purpose of the project is to spur small projects that can be potentially identified as have promising discoveries or commercial viability that will then receive additional funding and mentorship.
The intention is that the PIs on the projects will be currently or recently NSF funded researchers, the entrepreneurial leads will be Post-Doctoral scholars or graduate students, and mentors will be included from technology developers, business leaders, venture capitalists, and other areas of private industry. It is believed that this combination of expertise will allow easy identification of the basic criteria that is necessary for applied science based on fundamental research.
This program’s opportunities will represent a ready chance for students and recent graduates to participate in research that will help them improve their abilities to produce innovations that meet a clearly-defined need within society. The sponsor hopes that, following the three-years of projects it intends on funding, many new investigators will be ready to start new businesses, apply for SBIR funding, and improve current education curricula.
There are eight directorates and offices of the NSF that will be participating in the program. The NSF will be holding webinars on the first Tuesday of every month, at 2 PM EST.
More information can be found at The National Science Foundation I-Corps News page.