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Dartmouth NSF I-Corps Program
Dartmouth is a proud partner of the National Science Foundation's Interior Northeast Innovation Corps Hub (IN I-Corps) and National Innovation Network aimed at helping entrepreneurial-minded students, faculty, and researchers accelerate research discoveries from the lab to the marketplace.
What is I-Corps?
Transforming Researchers into Entrepreneurs
The NSF-led I-Corps program offers immersive, entrepreneurial training for students, faculty, post-docs, and other researchers interested in exploring the market potential of their work. Through the IN I-Corps Hub, Dartmouth students, faculty, and researchers have access to intellectual and entrepreneurial tools and resources across universities, including:
- Free regional entrepreneurship courses
- Access to the Hub's robust entrepreneurial network
- Support in applying for NSF's I-Corps teams
Free Regional Courses
Dartmouth students, faculty, and researchers who take part in IN I-Corps will have access to free, month-long, regional courses taught by experienced entrepreneurs in the IN I-Corps Hub. Through the course, STEM researchers and aspiring entrepreneurs will learn from potential customers the market feasibility of their innovation, and discover novel ways to apply their research to real-world challenges.
Who Should Apply?
Dartmouth students, post-docs, and faculty interested in exploring next steps for their research are encouraged to apply. Successful applicants will have:
- An early-stage technology innovation (eg. a prototype or scientific validation, beyond an idea);
- One to three team members with the ability to spend several hours/week on class work, plus conduct 30 interviews over the period of approximately one month.
"Through the regional I-Corps course, STEM researchers will be encouraged to leave their comfort zones and learn how to talk to customers, identify the problem, evaluate market potential of their innovations, and develop entrepreneurial mindsets."
Online courses combine self-directed online learning with Zoom-based classes and one-on-one instructor check-ins. Unless otherwise specified, any deep-tech innovation is eligible. Participating teams may apply for $3,000 in funding to continue customer discovery activities subsequent to the online course.
Hybrid courses include a funded, customer discovery trip to a specified industry event and focus on technologies within a particular industry (eg. biotech, agtech, optics, clean energy).
NSF I-Corps Teams
Participants who complete the Regional I-Corps Course may be eligible to receive lineage and a letter of recommendation for the NSF I-Corps Teams national program, an intensive seven-week innovation and entrepreneurship training course for the nation's top scientists and engineers that comes with mentoring and funding support.
- Training to identify product opportunities that can emerge from academic research;
- Guidance from established entrepreneurs;
- NSF funding of up to $50,000 to conduct 100+ customer discovery interviews;
- Stronger application for SBIR/STTR grants (up to $1.5 million);
- Lineage to apply for NSF's Partnership for Innovation (PFI) grant.
If you are interested applying to become the entrepreneurial lead on an NSF I-Corps Team, you are required to complete a Regional I-Corps Course prior to your application.
Numerous projects across Dartmouth have earned funding support from I-Corps, including:
Implantable Energy Harvesting Chip for Self-Powered Leadless Pacemakers
Team: Professor John X.J. Zhang; Zhe Xu, Research Associate; Paul Steiner, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
MEMRY App for Alzheimer Patients
Team: Tishya Srivastava Th'23, MEM Candidate
EIT Enabled Bioreactor
Team: Professor Ryan Halter; Mimi Lan, PhD Candidate
Low Cost, Open Source Wastewater PFAS Removal System
Team: Ariana Arvelo '23; Abbi Fitzpatrick '22 Th'23; Billy Gano '22 Th'23; Eliana Ray '23 Th'23
The IN I-Corps Hub, comprised of Dartmouth and nine other research universities, provides a robust entrepreneurial network, training, and support to aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs in predominantly rural and economically underserved regions.
IN I-Corps Hub Members
In addition to Dartmouth, IN I-Corps Hub members include:
Laura Ray, Faculty Lead
Myron Tribus Professor of Engineering Innovation; Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development
Eric Fossum, Faculty Lead
John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies; Vice Provost, Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer (OETT); Director, PhD Innovation Program
Caroline Cannon, Operations Lead
Founder of the Academic Venture Lab; Faculty Advisor for the Diversity Entrepreneurship Collaboration and the Tuck First Year Project