By | Event, Innovation, People, Rochester

An Awesome Opportunity: NSF I-Corps Programs @ UR

By Ain CFE Staff

The University of Rochester supports the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Programs and, in honor of the upcoming short course, here’s an overview of what the Ain Center runs and how these programs can help launch your venture. 

Do you have a background in science, technology, or a related field? You may be a perfect candidate for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Programs. I-Corps is a partnership program that allows university entrepreneurs to identify valuable opportunities that can emerge from academic research and offers entrepreneurship training to participants. With emphasis on strategy, consumer research, and development, I-Corps provides a crash-course in entrepreneurial thinking. At the University of Rochester, we offer a few variations of the program:

NSF I-Corps Site Program

  • Local teams transition their ideas, devices, or processes into the marketplace
  • More than 50 hubs across the United States (including the University of Rochester)
  • Provides participants with advice, resources, training, and networking opportunities
  • Funding (up to $3,000 per team) to further their research or development processes
  • Site graduates can apply to I-Corps Teams National Program, which awards grants of up to $50,000

NSF I-Corps Node Program

  • Supports regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure, and research
  • Upstate New York (UNY) Node – University of Rochester, Cornell University, and Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Participants complete a two-week Short Course aimed at graduate students and post-docs
  • Graduates of the Short Course receive NSF lineage and can apply for other NSF grants
  • Short Courses are offered in Rochester at least twice a year

Though we do not host the NSF I-Corps Team Program (below), this is an option for those who have completed either of the programs listed above. The Teams Program is a large commitment, but participants gain access to significant resources and business know-how.

NSF I-Corps Team Program

  • Applicants must have NSF lineage (and prior completion of a Site or Node program is strongly recommended)
  • Participants complete an intensive 7-week program offered throughout the United States
  • Provides opportunities for NSF funding and other high-level resources, including an increased chance of receiving SBIR and STTR grant awards

The benefits of participating in these programs are long-lasting. To learn more about the University of Rochester’s participation in I-Corps programs and for more information regarding eligibility and the application process, please visit the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship’s website.

Who can help?

Natalie Antal

Natalie Antal

Associate Director
1-211C Carol Simon Hall
(585) 276-4511

Matthew Spielmann

Matthew Spielmann

Senior Program Manager
1-217 Dewey Hall
(585) 273-3967

By | Event, Innovation, People, Rochester

Meliora Weekend 2018

By Ain CFE Staff

“It’s incredible – the amount of human capital in the University, and all of the research. As an entrepreneur, your job is to bring it together creatively,” says UR student entrepreneur Daphne Pariser. During the 2018 Meliora Weekend, we celebrated 40 years of entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester.

On Thursday, October 4, the Ain Center was invited to present at the University’s Board of Trustees dinner. Two doctoral students, Daphne Pariser ‘17M (MS) and Joseph VanderStel ‘16E (MA), presented their ventures and shared their stories with members of the University community. Hailing from URMC and Eastman School of Music respectively, these two students have utilized the various resources that UR has to offer. We are proud to be a part of their entrepreneurial journeys.

The Ain Center – in partnership with Alumni Relations, the Simon School of Business, and the Barbara J. Burger iZone – hosted a student panel and entrepreneurship expo on Saturday, October 6. The panel, moderated by alumna and co-founder of Health Care Originals Inc., Sharon Samjitsingh ’13 (MS), featured:

Each student contributed their own unique perspective, including how to balance their curricular programs and pursue their entrepreneurial passions.

2018 Board of Trustees dinner

Eastman doctoral student Joseph VanderStel, Mark Ain ‘67S, Board of Trustees Chairman Danny Wegman, URMC doctoral student Daphne Pariser, University President Richard Feldman, and Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship Duncan Moore.

Student panelists during 2018 Meliora Weekend

Saturday’s entrepreneurship panel featuring moderator Sharon Samjitsingh and panelists Daphne Pariser, Ian Manzi, Mike Alcazaren, Shelley Chen, and Vlad Cazacu.

Crowd members during 2018 Meliora Weekend panel

Members of the University community during the Saturday panel.

Lidia Alexa (visiting professor) and Guzeliya Sayfullina (SEA)

A representative from Simon Entrepreneurs Association and visiting professor Lidia Alexa during the entrepreneurship expo.

Daphne Pariser, Mike Alcazaren, and Duncan Moore

Panelists Daphne Pariser and Mike Alcazaren with Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship Duncan Moore during the poster session.

We would like to thank the University’s Board of Trustees for inviting our students to speak and share their entrepreneurial journeys at UR. We would also like to thank our student panelists, moderator, and departmental partners for our Saturday event. Cheers to another 40 years of entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester!

By | Business Competition, Event, Innovation, NSF I-Corps, People, Rochester, Social Entrepreneurship, Technology

Fall 2018 at a Glance

By Ain CFE Staff
With each new semester comes a beginning – an exciting adventure for the new arrivals, and a fresh start for those returning. The Ain Center is ready to pilot fantastic programming and to revamp some of our older offerings. We invite you to Envision, Explore, Build, Launch, and Sustain with us. Check out the links below for some ways to get involved!



We hope to see you around this fall. Feel free to send any entrepreneurial questions our way ( or drop by (1-211 Carol Simon Hall) to say hello and set up an appointment!

By | Business Competition, Event, Innovation, NSF I-Corps

Spring 2018 at a Glance

By Ain CFE Staff
Scroll down to see all of the Ain Center offerings for this semester – spring 2018 is filled with exciting entrepreneurial events and valuable opportunities. Hover over each box to learn more.
EIR Office Hours
Kathryn Cartini
January 26

1PM – 4PM

Virtual (Skype)

Head to our EIR page to make an appointment with Kate.

EIR Office Hours
Robert Arnold
February 15

2PM – 4:30PM

Virtual (Skype)

Head to our EIR page to make an appointment with Robert.

EIR Office Hours
Andrew Scheinman
February 6

noon – 4PM

CSH 3-327

Head to our EIR page to make an appointment with Andrew.

January 22

noon – 1PM

Schlegel 301

Learn more about this month’s topic on the event post.

Funding Your
Dreams Workshop
January 26

11AM – noon

1-305 Dewey

Learn more about this workshop, hosted by the Fifth House Ensemble, here.

Anatomy of a
Startup Workshop
January 26

1PM – 2PM

118 Gleason

Learn more about this workshop, hosted by the Fifth House Ensemble, here.

NSF I-Corps Site
Cohort Kickoff
January 26

noon – 5PM

Location TBD

Find out more about the NSF I-Corps Site program here.

e5 Info Session
(formerly KEY)
January 31

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Lattimore 306A

Interested in a fifth tuition-free year to pursue your dreams? Learn more here.

Ain Workshop


4PM – 5:15PM

Location TBD

Find out more about this series of workshops here.

Ain CFE @
Club Rochester
February 2

3:30PM – 5PM

Feldman Ballroom

Come mingle with other innovators and learn more about this event here.

NextGen Competition
February 16

9AM – 6PM

Ortho Clinical

Learn more about TEAM’s popular Next Gen competition here.

I-Corps Node
Short Course
February 23

8AM – 5PM

Location TBD

See the UNY I-Corps Node website for more info.

Buzz Lab
Boot Camp
February 10 – March 3

10AM – 3PM

Location TBD

A business bootcamp for the UR and local community. Learn more here.

Ain Center
Lecture Series

Time TBD

Location TBD

See our past lecturers here.


Time TBD

Location TBD

Learn more about the NYBPC – Finger Lakes Region here.

ROC Venture
Challenge Finals
April 27

Time TBD

Hyatt Regency

Learn more about the Venture Challenge through HTR.

May 3

1PM – 4PM

Location TBD

Learn more about the Forbes Competition here.

Mark Ain

Time TBD

Location TBD

Learn more about the Mark Ain Business Plan Competition here.

e5 Capstone

Time TBD

Location TBD

Learn about the e5 projects from 2017-2018 school year.


Time TBD

U of R

Celebrate the TEAM Class of 2018!

Regional Summit on
May or June

noon – 5PM

Location TBD

Entrepreneurial educators and professionals gather to talk about e’ship education in upstate NY.