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Applications are now open for the Winter 2024 I-Corps Customer Discovery Program

Deadline: Wednesday, November 29, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.

The I-Corps Customer Discovery Program is powered by CoMotion in collaboration with the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS). This program offers customer discovery training and provides connections to mentors, both of which are critical to the success of any business. You will also learn how to effectively communicate your idea to investors and have the chance to receive up to $1,000 to continue customer discovery and stakeholder interviews.

Participants in this program must be ready to spend several hours per week working on their project over the five weeks of the program. Workshops are held virtually on Wednesday afternoons in January 2024, with one additional workshop hosted by ITHS on Thursday January 18th for projects with a biomedical or health focus. Teams are expected to sign up for one 30-minute block during weekly virtual office hours, held Friday afternoons, to report out on progress and meet with a mentor who will provide guidance. See the full schedule.

Learn more about mentoring a team through early customer discovery.

Program description

The Innovation Corps (I-CorpsTM) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to accelerate academic research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. Through training and mentorship, program participants learn about the commercialization process and test the value of their business idea by talking to potential customers and stakeholders.

In addition to the main program that all participants will take part in, the UW Pacific Northwest program also has two industry-specific tracks – one in HealthTech and another in CleanTech/ClimateTech. These allow participants with innovations in those industries to dive deeper into the specific needs of their fields. Read more about the two tracks in the Program tracks section below.

Details of the program

What you will learn

  • How to find and connect with potential customers and stakeholders
  • How to prototype a business idea using lean startup tools
  • How to tell your story to your stakeholders and your community
  • How to use those skills to test the value of your idea


  • Connecting with and interviewing at least 4 new individuals weekly
  • Capturing insights from those interviews to help evolve your thinking around your project
  • Briefly summarize and present weekly work
  • Practice your storytelling skills

What you will leave with

  • Long-lasting connections with industry mentors and other innovators.
  • Opportunity to apply for up to $1,000 in funding to continue customer discovery.
  • Opportunities and support to apply for federal grant funding and other local and national opportunities.

Main program

All Industries

All participants will deepen their knowledge of various aspects of customer discovery and storytelling through weekly events.

Program tracks

Student researchers at the Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab


Participants in this space will take a deeper look at the specifics of the life sciences industry.


Participants in these spaces will take a deeper look at the specifics of these industries. (This track is offered once a year during the summer.)

Creating value and driving impact

Who is it for?

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

Participating institutions

The UW CoMotion I-Corps program provides access to teams from universities that do not have NSF I-Corps funding. Over the past 24 months, 166 UW teams and 42 teams from all corners of the region have benefited from this entrepreneurial training. Join us by contacting Soraya Bailey at

Timeline - five milestones

Past winners

Learn more about recent award-winning projects.

Teaching Team

Learn more about our teaching team and mentors.


Phone: 206-543-3970


For questions about the biomedical track, contact