Application Guidelines, Timing, and Materials
Do you have an idea for a startup in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math)?
It’s time to test it with potential customers!
That’s where the I-Corps Program comes in. Through a grant from NSF, the I-Corps program works with Penn faculty, staff, post-docs, and students to test and validate startup ideas through Customer Discovery.
Participants learn valuable skills on connecting with customers, asking the right questions, and how to find partners to help get your startup off the ground. Plus teams are awarded grants of up to $2000 for participating! (Apply early to receive the biggest grant)
The training is aimed specifically at better understanding why technology has value and to whom.
Each I-Corps course takes place over four weeks, and includes 4-6 in-person sessions, combined with ~8 hours of customer discovery by each team. Courses are free to attend, and you do not require current/prior NSF funding to participate.
For an in-depth discussion of Penn I-Corps, see I-Corps as a Training Tool for New Technology Development.
Open to the Penn community: faculty, students, post-docs, staff, and alumni who graduated in the past year. Teams ideas need to be authored by Penn individuals.
The key requirements are:
Team composition: two or more team members, all actively affiliated with UPENN (faculty, students, post-docs, alumni graduated within the past year)
Technology area: revolving around fundamental discoveries in science and engineering
Intellectual Property: developed by a team member as part of research or classwork at UPENN
Commitment: fully attend all sessions and complete assignments, including conducting 20 interviews – takes 10 hrs. per week per team member
Applicants should have:
I have an idea for a startup, but do not have partners to form a team.
Perfect! Apply to the I-Corps program and we’ll partner you with faculty and other students.
I want to get involved with a startup, but I do not have my own idea.
Great! We love your entrepreneurial spirit. Apply and we’ll try to pair you with a team who has an idea.
I am a faculty member looking to have a team formed.
You’re welcome too! Based on your background and experience, we’ll pair you with a team that can leverage your skills. Contact us directly.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for either the fall or spring short-course. We help you de-risk your idea to move it forward quickly and find answers to:
Apply now – a limited number of teams are admitted to each I-Corps Short Course to allow for the best interaction with the instructors.
Read I-Corps as a Training Tool for New Technology Development to get a good understanding of Penn I-Corps. It illustrates the benefits gained by teams that go through the program.
Completing a Short Course puts your team in an excellent position to apply to the national NSF Teams program — where you’ll have $50,000 in support to conduct customer discovery. Other benefits include:
Questions: contact Tomas Isakowitz firstname.lastname@example.org
The Penn I-Corps Site is an NSF program designed to facilitate commercialization of university research. The accelerator is a joint collaboration between the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), Penn Law’s Detkin IP and Technology Clinic, the City of Philadelphia, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of SE PA, Wharton Entrepreneurship, and Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation. It was established in 2015.
Penn I-Corps is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1450467
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1450467.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.