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NSF I-Corps

NSF I-Corp Bootcamp Sessions

Milestone 5: Apply for Grant

How to apply for a grant

Only program participants may apply for the grant. More information about how to apply for the grant will be provided during the I-Corps program.

Who will receive the grant


  • UW community members (i.e. Faculty, students, staff), and
  • Students from universities in the Pacific Northwest i.e. WA, ID, OR, AK, or MT

General grant attribution criteria

The Granting Committee looks for teams who are enthusiastic about technology commercialization and have clear goals. Mini-grants are awarded based on progress made during the program and demonstrated commitment to taking the project to market impact.

Grant attribution metrics

  • Number of interviews
  • Number of insights
  • Canvas hypothesis validation/invalidation rate
  • Plausibility of grant proposal to advance team’s customer discovery objectives
  • Allowability of expenses. Make sure you read all the documentation before you write your grant proposal and propose projects that are not allowed!
  • Team mentors progress evaluation
  • Team’s active involvement in cohort and respect for deadlines

Past grantees

What the grant covers

The I-Corps $2,500 grant is specifically designed for teams pursuing customer discovery activities. Below are a number of common questions our teams usually ask that will help you understand what the grant may or may not cover.


FAQs - uwc-accordion-1

These types of expenses are not allowed under the I-Corps grant. Neither are other consultant fees or salary expenses.

No. Stipend, salaries and consultancy fees are not allowed under the I-Corps grant.

The short answer is no. The use of gift cards triggers the necessity for a process of approval of your customer discovery by the IRB (Institutional Review Board), which is a long and cumbersome process that is not worth going through for those grants. Exceptions may be made upon discussion with the I-Corps team for projects that already have received an IRB approval or exemption.

Attendance of an academic conference using I-Corps grant funds is allowed only with written approval from I-Corps Site leadership. Such approval is typically not granted unless you can explain how an academic conference would facilitate customer discovery of commercial market opportunities.

Yes. Tradeshows can be a great way to interact with a large number of potential customers. I-Corps grant funds can be used to support the team’s travel to industry tradeshows in the United States.

  • Membership to professional organizations customers attend
  • Leveraging social media to connect with possible customers and stakeholders (e.g. LinkedIn professional membership)
  • Surveying customers to understand needs and wants (survey tools)
  • A/B testing a website (website development; for advanced teams only)
  • 1:1 interviews of targeted industry contacts (Industry conference fees), ∙ Create rudimentary website to gauge interest by letting people sign up to learn more (website ∙ development)
  • Access research reports (check with libraries first because most university-affiliated teams ∙ should have access to those for free)
  • Create website brochure to facilitate conversations with potential customers (website ∙ development)
  • Conferencing service subscription if institution does not provide conferencing services.

Program dates & deadlines

Keep track of the key dates and deadlines for the current program cycle.

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