Innovation Corps - National Innovation Network Teams Program (I-CorpsTM Teams)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to further develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem that guides the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products, and services that benefit society. The goals of the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program, created in 2011 by NSF, are to spur translation of fundamental research to the marketplace, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train NSF-funded faculty, students and other researchers in innovation and entrepreneurship skills.

The I-Corps Program utilizes experiential learning of customer and industry discovery, coupled with first-hand investigation of industrial processes, to quickly assess the translational potential of inventions.  The I-Corps Program is designed to support the commercialization of "deep technologies,”  those revolving around fundamental discoveries in science and engineering. The I-Corps Program addresses the skill and knowledge gaps associated with the transformation of basic research into deep technology ventures (DTVs).

The purpose of the I-Corps Teams program is to identify NSF-funded researchers to receive additional support in the form of entrepreneurial education, mentoring, and funding to accelerate the translation of knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and services that may attract subsequent third-party funding. The outcomes of I-Corps Teams' projects are threefold: 1) a decision on a clear path forward based on an assessment of the business model, 2) substantial first-hand evidence for or against product-market fit, with the identification of customer segments and corresponding value propositions, and 3) a narrative of a technology demonstration for potential partners.

Full Proposal Accepted Anytime
Proposal accepted anytime with a cognizant NSF Program Officer's invitation. See II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION - Requirements

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

  • 47.041 --- Engineering
  • 47.049 --- Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • 47.050 --- Geosciences
  • 47.070 --- Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • 47.074 --- Biological Sciences
  • 47.075 --- Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences
  • 47.076 --- Education and Human Resources
  • 47.079 --- Office of International Science and Engineering
  • 47.083 --- Office of Integrative Activities (OIA)

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.

Multiple awards based on the same core technology generally will not be supported.

Multiple I-Corps awards to a PI participating on a currently active I-Corps team generally will not be supported. Collaborative proposals are not eligible for the I-Corps Teams Program.



Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 200-255

Estimated program budget and number of awards are subject to the availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: Funding for the Innovation-Corps Teams Program is $50,000 per award. The anticipated funding amount is $10-$12.75 million per year, pending availability of funds. Award Duration: This is a six-month award.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences