Iowa State is an NSF Innovation Corps site

Iowa State has been selected as a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) site, a distinction that enhances the university's reputation as a leader in creating innovative solutions to societal problems. The office of the vice president for research and the office of economic development and industry relations (EDIR) are partners in developing Iowa State's I-Corps program.

An I-Corps site acts as a training ground for faculty, postdocs and graduate students to transition their ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace. Researchers will explore the commercial potential of their research and technology as a means to increase its impact. In addition, the program will strengthen the university's entrepreneurship programs.

Learn more: info sessions

  • Sept. 11, 9-10 a.m., MU Gallery
  • Sept. 12, 9-10 a.m., MU Pioneer Room

"The I-Corps award further advances our culture of entrepreneurship and innovation by increasing support for students and faculty in translating research findings into value-added products in the marketplace," said Sarah Nusser, vice president for research. "We are particularly pleased to strengthen the bridge between research discoveries and the potential to develop new start-up companies that increase the impact of our research."

Associate vice president for research Guru Rao is the principal investigator for the I-Corps project. Co-principal investigators are Kristine Johansen and William Adamowski, EDIR program managers who cultivate relationships with industry and run the Startup Factory.

Iowa State's focus

Iowa State is among the top universities in the world to be granted U.S. utility patents. As an I-Corps site, the university will focus on translating discoveries that reflect its strengths in engineering, biorenewables, materials science, agriculture, food and nutrition, and veterinary medicine. The program is expected to bolster entrepreneurship and innovation already happening across campus, foster connections with other Midwest I-Corps sites and strengthen the nation's innovation fabric.

How it works

Each year, ISU teams will compete to participate in the program. Thirty teams will be selected, each containing:

  • An entrepreneurial lead (grad students or postdocs)
  • Academic lead (faculty)
  • Mentor (emerging entrepreneur)

Teams will receive instruction on the principles of starting a new business, writing proposals, understanding intellectual property, defining outcomes and delivering compelling presentations to potential customers -- all with an eye toward starting a new company. Microgrants are available for accepted cohort members. I-Corps will work with existing entrepreneurial units at Iowa State, including resources within EDIR.

Learn more

Interested faculty, staff, post-docs and graduate students are invited to learn more about the program during two information sessions next week in the Memorial Union. Each session will cover a program overview, application process and timeline, curriculum overview and benefits of participation, including additional funding and program opportunities. The sessions are:

  • Sept. 11, 9-10 a.m., MU Gallery
  • Sept. 12, 9-10 a.m., MU Pioneer Room

"Iowa State's research infrastructure, combined with our collaborative team approach and innovative spirit, provides the perfect setting for researchers to explore the commercial potential of their discoveries," said Michael Crum, vice president of economic development and industry relations. "Being an I-Corps site also enables us to provide even more real-world, hands-on, immersive learning experiences for our students and further establish ourselves as a leader in launching and growing successful enterprises."