Innovation Corps- National Innovation Network Sites Program (I-Corps Sites)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

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.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 1


  • Duke Internal Deadline: October 3, 2019
  • Full Proposal Deadline Date:   February 13, 2020; Second Thursday in February, Annually Thereafter


If the internal deadline has passed and you are interested in this opportunity, please email Anastasia Maddox at to find out if it is still open.

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.
  • A competitive proposal for an I-Corps Site will be led by an institution having an already existing unit whose goal is to assist faculty, students and other academic personnel to engage in entrepreneurial activities and transition scientific and technological innovations. Such units are typically called: innovation centers, entrepreneurial centers, technology incubators, etc. Their mission is to provide resources to individuals and teams in the form of space, seed funding, entrepreneurial mentoring, curriculum, or other assets needed to transition technology into the marketplace.

    Collaborative proposals from multiple institutions are discouraged. Exceptions can be made, with the approval of the NSF I-Corps Management Team, for institutions that have collaborative entrepreneurial centers already in place. I-Corps Sites are awarded to single institutions and Sites fund teams from their own institution. In exceptional cases, a Site may also fund teams from branch campuses or other institutions in the Site's geographical region. However, a Site must obtain permission from a cognizant program officer before proposing this model.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 15

Up to 25 I-Corps Sites awards annually, pending availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $2,500,000

Funding Type





Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean/chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* A 2 - 4 page description of your project
* A description of what you have in place so that reviewers can make an informed decision regarding your submission. (I.e. if you have been working on this proposal for X number of years and already have many components in place; if you have been working with the Program Officer regarding your proposal; if this is a resubmission and you have addressed issues with the past submission..."

* NSF Biosketch of lead PI

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials:


Internal Deadline

October 3, 2019

External Deadline

February 13, 2020