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    NSF I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches university entrepreneurs with a targeted Lean Launchpad curriculum to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to participants.

    The University of Rochester’s I-Corps Site (Site) is geared toward developing potential I-Corps Team projects (Team) for the National I-Corps program and providing an entrepreneurial program for student (graduate and undergraduate), faculty, staff, and alumni teams to complete together to achieve their business potential.

    The first and most important goal of I-Corps Sites is to encourage technical entrepreneurship and teach faculty and students how to think about commercialization. Teams should have clearly defined goals and expectations for how the program can help develop and commercialize their idea.

    The Site will provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training, and modest funding (awards of $1,000 - $3,000 per team) to enable teams to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants. With the support and mentorship of the Site, the teams will learn first-hand about entrepreneurship and explore the transition of their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace.

    Upon completion of the I-Corps Site program, participants are eligible to apply for the NSF I-Corps Team program (an intensive 6-week NSF training with the opportunity to be awarded a $50,000 grant; learn more at as well as many other funding opportunities.

    All current undergraduate and graduate students, doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, alumni, administrative staff, and faculty are eligible to apply as an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL). Academic Leads (AL) must be University of Rochester faculty members.

    Proposed business ventures must fall under one of the following categories:
    • Physical Sciences
    • Life Sciences
    • Software
    • Mobile Applications
    • Website Platforms

    Applications will be judged on the criteria of:
    • Team and Commitment
    • Intellectual Property Strength
    • Technology Strength
    • Commercial Potential and Applications
    • Fit with I-Corps Site program

    *Students may only apply ONCE per Cohort. Students may only be on ONE team per Cohort.

    *Applicants must find a faculty member to agree to serve as an Academic Lead for the program. Academic Leads serve as advisors for the technical aspects of the team's idea.

    *Teams must spend their Grant Awards in the Spending Windows specified by each Cohort. Teams must determine the dates they plan to spend the Grant Award and apply to the corresponding Cohort. The Selection Committee may defer acceptance to a later Cohort.

    Participants in the University of Rochester I-Corps Site will be expected to commit at least 3 - 5 hours per person per week to market research, customer discovery and other commercialization-focused activities. Therefore, it is important that the participants are interested in gaining new knowledge from the program, and not just receiving the I-Corps Site grant funding.

    Once accepted, participants will be required to attend a kickoff event, two training sessions, and Mentor meetings during the Cohort's semester. The end of the program will culminate in a final Presentation Day where participants will show how their business ideas have developed over the course of the semester.

    Participants will also be expected to schedule regular meetings with their assigned Mentors throughout the semester.

    Completed applications are to be submitted no later than noon on the day of the deadline. Applicants must submit the following documents with their application. Please note: Only the Entrepreneurial Lead is required to submit these documents.

    1. Completed Application
    • Entrepreneurial Lead Signature
    • Academic Lead Signature Page

    2. Résumé of Entrepreneurial Lead

    3. 1–2 page Executive Summary
    • Industry
    • One Line Pitch
    • Problem
    • Idea / Solution
    • Potential Target Markets
    • Potential Marketing & Sales Strategy
    • Potential Business Model
    • Known Competitors to Date
    • Competitive Advantage
    • Funds Needed
    • Use of Funds (see Itemized Financial Plan)

    4. Itemized Financial Plan

    In addition, applicants must also identify and meet with a faculty member who will serve as their Academic Lead (AL) throughout the project.

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Contact Matthew Spielmann, Senior Program Manager.