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University of South Carolina |
University of South Carolina |
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Assessing the Commercial Viability
of Innovative Technologies



The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is a suite of activities and programs that aim to:

  • Accelerate the transition ideas to the marketplace.
  • Encourage collaboration between academia and industry.
  • Train students to understand innovation and entrepreneurship.

I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches grantees to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to student participants. There are 3 components of the I-Corps program that work together to grow and sustain the national innovation ecosystem.

I-Corps Nodes support regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure and research.

I-Corps Sites nurture and support teams in academic institutions to transition their technology concepts into the marketplace.

I-Corps Teams participate to learn what it takes to achieve commercial impact of their innovation.

I-Corps Site Process

1.   Team composed of three members submits an application:

  • Entrepreneurial Lead will be postdoctoral scholar, graduate or undergraduate student with relevant knowledge of the technology and deep commitment to investigating the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation.
  • Academic Lead  will be a faculty member or senior research scientist with a deep understanding of the core technology.
  • Business Mentor will be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur with experience in transitioning technology out of academic labs.

2.   Selection committee chooses up to 10 applicants per cohort based on:

  • Team and Commitment
  • Intellectual Property Strength
  • Technology Strength
  • Commercial Potential/Applications

3.   Team completes the program focused on Lean LaunchPad methodology:

  • Customers/Users Discovery
  • Business Modeling
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Presentation Skills

4. Team make three presentations to three different panels of experts.

5. Team makes a go/no-go decision on pursuing commercialization.

Program Benefits

  • Seed funding up to $3000 per team for prototyping and customer discovery
  • Education workshops on customer discovery, business modeling and presentations
  • Mentoring by experts in business, technology and commercialization

Use of Funds

I-Corps funding of up to $3000 can be used to support various entrepreneurial activities including:

  • Prototyping including materials and supplies
  • Travel to meetings, conferences, trade shows and workshops for the purpose of customer discovery


Application Deadline: October 24, 2021

Workshop I: October 29, 2021, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Workshop II: November 12, 2021, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Workshop III: November 19, 2021, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.



Director and PI






Advisory Panel

Apply Today

USC ICORPS Application

Team Status Yes Need Help
Enterpreneurial Lead in Place YesNeed Help
Academic Lead in Place YesNeed Help
Business Mentor in Place YesNeed Help


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