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NSF I-Corps

I-Corps @ NC State offers a National Science Foundation (NSF) training program aimed at helping researchers transition their ideas and inventions into the marketplace through customer discovery and market research.

NSF I-Corps Logo

I-Corps participants will gain:

  • Entrepreneurial Training and Support from Industry Experts
  • Experiential Market and Customer Research Skills
  • Mentorship Connections
  • Access to NSF Resources

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for the Summer cohort!

I-Corps @ NC State Impact

“If you want to meet a diverse group of mentors and instructors to inform you about the paths of your technology to the market, don’t miss the opportunity of attending I-Corps.”

Fall 2019 Participant

“Scientists-turned-entrepreneurs can really benefit from the instruction, discipline and feedback of the program, because customer discovery is crucial and easy to procrastinate.”

Fall 2019 Participant

“If you have an idea for a product or service, this program will help you flesh it out and determine viability.”

Spring 2019 Participant

“I didn’t realize what I was learning until looking back. It did change my perspective on our product and its benefit. I would take a class early in the commercialization process.”

Spring 2019 Participant

What to Expect?

I-Corps @ NC State is a four-session course is aimed at arriving at a “go” or “no-go” team decision on whether to pursue commercialization of a technology.

Teams will receive instruction on performing customer discovery and market research at the beginning of the course and will then perform customer interviews each week. Each team will present its interview findings at the weekly meetings.


  • Expectations:
    • At least one team member is expected to attend all program events.
    • Teams are expected to commit to engaging in market research, customer discovery and other commercialization-focused activities outside of class.
    • Teams should complete at least 20 customer interviews by the end of the program.
  • Typical Team Composition:
    • Academic Leadfaculty member or co-inventor designated by faculty member. Expect to give 6 hours per week.
    • Entrepreneurial Lead – typically a graduate student or postdoc working in the Academic Lead’s research program (teams may have more than one Entrepreneurial Lead if desired). Expect to give up to 10 hours per week.
    • Mentor – someone with business and/or industry experience or experience coaching teams. Expect to give 2 hours per week.
    • You can apply even if you do not have a person to fill each role!
  • Program Benefits:
    • Training and guidance on how to interview potential customers and end users of your technology
    • Access to knowledgeable mentors who will provide you with domain and business expertise
    • Become members of the NSF’s National Innovation Network, and gain the ability to claim NSF legacy funding
    • Receive guidance in obtaining additional research and development funding, including the national NSF I-Corps teams program, SBIT/STTR grants, regional accelerator programs and external funding opportunities

Application Process

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. After submitting an application, a member of our team will contact you within one week to meet with you to discuss your application, the program format and expectations, and your team’s suitability for the program. If accepted, your team will be placed in the next available cohort.

Program Dates: Spring 2023*

  • Application Period: applications accepted until Friday, January 20th at 11:59 PM
  • Selected Teams Notified: Friday, February 10th
  • Cohort Kickoff Mixer: Thursday, February 23rd, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Class 0: Tuesday, March 7th, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
  • Class 1: Tuesday, March 21st, 9AM – 1PM
  • Class 2: Tuesday, March 28th, 9AM – 1PM
  • Next Steps Session: Thursday, April 6th, 10 AM – 11 AM
  • Class 3: Tuesday, April 11th, 9AM – 1PM

*All sessions this cohort will be held in-person on NC State’s campus.


Yes, I-Corps @ NC State team will work with you to help identify potential team members. Please indicate this is desired when completing the application.

Yes. Also, by completing the NC State I-Corps program, you will establish an NSF funding lineage for your project, making it eligible for other sources of commercialization-focused funding from the NSF.

What is I-Corps?

NSF’s I-Corps Program assists scientists and engineers in extending their focus beyond the laboratory to increase the economic impact of university research projects through a curriculum based on Stanford’s Lean LaunchPad process.

The program partners innovative academic researchers, undergraduate/graduate students and entrepreneurial staff with mentors to identify market opportunities for new technologies that benefit society and the economy.

I-Corps @ NC State Team