Open to the Penn community: faculty, students, post-docs, staff, and alumni who graduated in the past year. We only work with ideas based on research / education developed at Penn in STEM and medicine areas.
Fall 2022 Deadline:
- The deadline for Fall 2022 was Friday, October 7th, 2022. Stay tuned for the Spring 2023 application.
You can apply as:
- a team with an idea;
- an individual with an idea looking to form a team; or
- an individual without your own idea, who wishes to join a team.
Fall 2022 Workshop Schedule
Opening Session: Getting started – Thu, Oct 27, 4 pm – 7 pm EST (virtual)
- Team Introductions
- Customer Segment and Value Proposition Hypotheses
- Interview Design and Practice
- Finding Interview Subjects
Office Hours #1: Week of Oct 31 – by appointment
- Individualized Mentorship on Interviewing Progress
- Refining Hypotheses
Office Hours #2: Week of Nov 14 – by appointment
- Individualized Mentorship on Interviewing Progress
- Further Refining Hypotheses
Closing Session, Final Presentations – Thu, December 1, 4 pm to 7 pm EST (in-person)
- Final Team Presentations
- Opportunities within the UPENN and NSF ecosystems
- Next Steps
If you want to learn more about the Penn I-Corps program, find out if your team is a good fit before applying, and/or meet potential teammates, we recommend attending one of our optional info sessions. Each session is from 12pm to 1pm EST and you can register here.
- Thursday, September 15 (virtual)
- Wednesday, September 21 (virtual)
- Friday, September 30 (in person, location TBD)
- We accept applications continuously on a rolling basis
- Once accepted, participants can choose which cohort to join
- Once a cohort fills up, you will be queued for the next one.
How I-Corps ranks applications:
The National Science Foundation created the I-Corps program in 2011 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.
Accordingly, Penn I-Corps classifies applications into four categories, with the 1st tier being the most preferred. Typically 10 to 12 teams participate in each course. About 50% of the teams fall in the 1st tier. Tiers 2 through 4 make up the remaining 50%.
- 1st tier – Deep technologies arising from funded research: Researchers (doctoral students, post-docs, faculty) working on ideas based on research conducted at Penn and funded by NIH, NSF, DoD, or other funding agencies.
- 2nd tier – Innovative research: innovative ideas developed at Penn based on deep technologies that do not originate in funded research
- 3rd tier – Applied innovation: ideas that use known technologies for innovative purposes but do not represent deep technological innovations.
- 4th tier – Remainder: ideas that do not fall in any of the above tiers
The Penn I-Corps Site works exclusively with the Intellectual Property (ideas) generated at Penn by students and researchers. Technologies developed outside of Penn do not qualify for participation in Penn I-Corps.
Programs For Penn Faculty, Students and Researchers with Ideas Based on Funded Research
If you want to explore creating a startup based on results from your research, you have come to the right place. Penn I-Corps will help you determine the market potential for your startup, which will put it on a growth trajectory.
We understand that the time constraints of a faculty member can make it hard to devote time to participate in I-Corps. That’s why we accept teams led by a member of the faculty’s lab.
More than 70 research-based teams have been trained by us.
- Innervace: is a regenerative therapy company developing technology to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Founded by Dr. Kacy Cullen and Dr. Douglas Smith, Penn I-Corps helped form a team led by Dr. Kullen’s graduate student Justin Burrell. The team’s participation in I-Corps in 2017 helped define its strategy. The company has since raised funds from investors and is the recipient of several grant awards.
- Vetigenics develops next-generation immunotherapies to treat disease and improve the lives of companion animals. Its founder is Dr. Nicola Mason, Professor of Medicine & Pathobiology at Penn Vet. After completing the Penn I-Corps training, Vetigenics participated in the National I-Corps program. The company is the recipient of an SBIR grant. In this video, Dr. Mason discusses her experience with I-Corps.
Programs for Penn Students or Researchers (With or without an idea)
If you have an idea, the Penn I-Corps customer discovery course will help you define your market and even acquire your first customers. If you do not have an idea for a startup, we can help you join another team that is looking for members.
More than 200 student-led teams have participated in Penn I-Corps.
- Neuroflow’s Chris Molaro (Wharton MBA student) and Adam Pardes (SEAS staff) participated in I-Corps in 2016. The company focuses on mental health and has raised more than $10M with >30 employees
- Five of the prestigious President Innovation Prize winners participated in I-Corps: inventXYZ, InstaHub, Strella Biotechnology, Avisi Technologies (VisiPlate), and XEED.
Fall 2022 I-Corps application deadline has passed. Stay tuned for the Spring 2023 deadline.