NSF I-Corps

UW NSF I-Corps Site Program

Program Description

The Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program is a program funded by the National Science Foundation that aims to accelerate academic research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. Through training and mentorship program participants are able to test the value of their business idea by talking to potential customers. Those who do well in the program may apply for up to $2,500 of funding to continue testing their business hypotheses via customer discovery. This program is a great preparation for anyone looking to participate in business plan competitions, seeking gap funding, or to apply for further federal funding (I-Corps Teams grant, SBIR/STTR grants, etc.).

Who is it for?

  • Faculty, researchers, postdocs, students or staff members from an academic institution in the Pacific Northwest
  • Professionals with industry or startup experience who are looking to mentor the next generation of academic entrepreneurs


For teams and solopreneurs

Participants in this program must be ready to spend several hours per week working on their project over the 6 weeks of the program.

For mentors

Mentors who report the highest satisfaction from the program usually dedicate 2 hours per week over 6 weeks to the program and engage in a variety of activities (training, bootcamps, individual team mentoring, or pitching). Learn more about the mentor experience.

Timeline - five milestones

Milestone 1: Register and find a mentor

Teams are expected to seek out and recruit a mentor who they can turn to for questions during the program. Having a mentor by the deadline below is a prerequisite to being accepted into the program.


  • To register: May 9, 2021 at 11:59pm
  • To find a mentor: June 6, 2021 at 11:59pm

Milestone 2: Attend initial training

The program starts with a series of workshops, to help teams learn the skills needed to test their business assumptions.


  • Program orientation: June 15, 2021, 9-11am
  • Introduction to the Lean Startup Methodology: June 16, 2021, 8:30am-12pm
  • Mastering Customer Discovery: June 17, 2021, 8:30am-12pm

Milestone 3: Participate in bootcamps

Teams participate in further training and weekly check-ins with industry mentors around specific topics. These bootcamps also provide an opportunity for participants and mentors to network and share tips.


  • For all teams: Tuesdays from June 22 to July 13, 9-11am
  • Additional dates for biomedical teams: Thursdays from June 24 to July 15, 2-4pm

Milestone 4: Pitch your idea

The program ends with teams pitching their idea to a group of mentors and investors followed by a question and feedback session.

July 19 to 22

Milestone 5: Apply for grant

Teams who fully participate in the program are encouraged to apply for an I-Corps Site grant to help fund further customer discovery efforts.

August 29, 2021 at 11:59pm


Our featured mentors

Michaele Armstrong

Assistant Director, SP3NW

Adam Arabian

Principal, Helios Engineering and Analysis

Jim Cooke

Volunteer SCORE.org

Chris Crane

Consultant & Mentor

Colette Foreman

Snr Dir Product Marketing, Limeade

Nicey Hilton

Consultant, Atelier Inc

Ron Kornfeld

CEO, XLIO Ventures

Russ Lea

Deputy Director, Cureworks, Seattle Children’s

Chandler J. Lewis

Organizational Development & Social Innovation Consultant

Marty Levine

Principal Consultant, 3rd Rail Consulting

Roland Marcus

Founder at FluoroFinder

Todd Smith

CTO, Director, Digital World Biology

Javier Soto

Angel Investor

Shan Wey

Distinguished Member Of Technical Staff at Verizon

Ozgur Yildirim

CTO | Technology and New Product Development Executive


Phone: 206-543-3970

Email: icorps@uw.edu

For questions about the biomedical track, contact TLButler@uw.edu