NSF issues biennial report on I-Corps

NSF I-Corps report cover

I-Corps accelerates basic research toward commercialization

July 15, 2021

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a biennial report (2019-2020) on the efficacy of the Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program. Read the full report on the NSF I-Corps website.

The I-Corps program trains NSF-funded researchers with the practical entrepreneurial skills necessary to identify valuable market opportunities that can emerge from academic research. Ultimately, I-Corps accelerates NSF-funded basic research projects with economic and societal benefits toward commercialization.

The new report details how I-Corps responds to four urgent national needs: training an entrepreneurial workforce, translating technologies, enabling economic impact, and nurturing an innovation ecosystem. I-Corps training and infrastructure together represent an important investment for NSF and the Nation, as directed by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA), Public Law 114-329, Section 601.

The report also describes I-Corps partnership activities. NSF, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Energy (DOE) collaborate in identifying and addressing the evolving requirements of the program. Each agency shares in the common vision of empowering scientists to inform and accelerate their interactions with the marketplace; however, each agency implements I-Corps at a different stage of the journey from demonstration to validation. This rich collaboration has enabled the participating agencies to provide structured training, support venture launch at scale, and meet the Nation’s call for action.

Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, NSF I-Corps has educated 5,700+ participants on more than 1,900 teams. The NSF-NIH partnership, known as “I-Corps at NIH”, began in FY 2015 and has led to 596 participating individuals on 201 teams. The NSF-DOE partnership, known as “Energy I-Corps,” launched in FY 2016 and has had 290 participants on 111 teams.

More than half (1,000+) of participating NSF I-Corps teams have launched startups, which have cumulatively raised $760+ million in subsequent funding. The NIH teams are Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) bioscience awardees that have collectively raised $400+ million in subsequent funding. DOE-funded startups have raised $83 million in post-training funding. (Distribution of public and private funding is not available at the time of this report.)

These metrics suggest the vast potential that I-Corps offers in identifying potential uses for federally funded technologies.

The NSF is required to issue an I-Corps report every two years as directed by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (P.L. 114-329).


Media Contacts
Media Affairs, NSF, (703) 292-7090, media@nsf.gov

Related Websites
I-Corps program: https://www.nsf.gov/i-corps 

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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