UCSC NSF I-Corps Site

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovation Corps or I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches graduate and undergraduate student entrepreneurs with a targeted curriculum to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and provides entrepreneurship training to participants.

UCSC’s designation as an NSF I-Corps Site is the result of collaboration between the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) and Crown College.

I-Corps Programs at UCSC All graduate and undergraduate students can participate in the Summer Entrepreneurship Academy – Lean LaunchPad courses offered in the combined summer sessions that cover eight week. Each team is supported by an I-Corps grant of up to $2,000* to cover travel and prototyping costs.”

Graduate students can participate with Prof. Sue Carter and apply for an I-Corps grant to support planning of their startup.

The program outcome is an investment-ready business model and commercialization plan for the idea or technology that the team has been exploring. Equally important is the experiential and evidence-based learning that will inform and shape the team members’ ongoing translational research.

Benefits of Participating in an I-Corps Program are:

  • Mentoring from local experts
  • Seed Funding (up to $3000)
  • Opportunity to be referred for a $50,000 NSF National I-Corps team award
  • Online educational resources
  • Access to the National Innovation Network.
  • Ongoing help to commercialize your idea
  • NSF I-Corps curriculum based on the Lean Launchpad methodology
  • License for LaunchPad Central to manage your business model development
  • Increased success in obtaining follow-on Funding Opportunities:
  • Trask Innovation Awards ($50,000)
  • SBIR Phase 1 ($225,000)
  • SBIR Phase 2 ($750,000)
  • Elevate Ventures ($20,000 – $100,000)
  • VentureWell Programs ($5000 – $50,000)

* The use of I-Corps Site grant funds can include, but is not limited to: acquisition of modest amounts of equipment or materials needed to fabricate prototypes; travel expenses to consult with potential clients or experts; training or education related to entrepreneurial immersion; or, other resources needed to directly advance the goals of transitioning a team’s project into the marketplace. I-Corps Site funds should not be used for legal or administrative costs.