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NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site

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The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site at Arizona State University provides training, coaching and financial support to faculty and student efforts to transition university research into the marketplace and to become successful I-Corps Teams. The site is a partnership among the ASU colleges and institutes, the technology transfer office and the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, funded by the National Science Foundation.

This I-Corps Site combines resources, infrastructure and training to support teams across the four ASU campuses to advance technology concepts into the marketplace. It focuses on building the innovation capacity of ASU, while contributing to the regional and national economy through technology commercialization and the development of the next generation of innovators.

In addition, implementation of the site includes systematic evaluation of opportunities to adapt and augment the I-Corps model to promote the inclusion and recruitment of underrepresented populations. ASU encourages and supports recruitment of veteran, women and underrepresented minority participants in the program.

What participating teams had to say about the I-Corps Spring 2022 experience:

“I really appreciate the excellent feedback we received from Denise and Ji Mi on our inquiry process, which helps us to have a much clearer vision on which customer segments we should target and how to analyze the ecosystem. Thanks to Sherilyn for providing all the info and making this an easy-to-follow workshop."

“I really like the contents and assignments, which help us to learn and practice customer discovery. The breakout room sessions are very helpful and I like the mock interviews the most."

"This is my second time partaking in the I-Corps workshop. I believe this program is extremely helpful for not only entrepreneurial purposes but for professional purposes, too."

After participating in I-Corps with ASU, these teams took their hands-on knowledge to apply for the NSF Nationals and received funding.

  • ARGOS Vision introduced a new method for accelerating neural networks using FPGA accelerators, and have tested this method on PYNQ boards. 
  • CODA Consulting built technology to enhance the visibility and efficiency of complex logistic operations. 
  • FlexBioTech developed rapid affordable point of care diagnostics for infectious disease and cancer screening in low-resource environments.
  • MyHealthStory by HealthTechApps, Inc.'s technology platform assists Screenagers, youth and young adults tell their health story. The technology platform includes an iOS app, ML/AI cloud processing, and a HIPAA-compliant web portal that measures both baseline and monitoring brain health data to support clinical decision making and user engagement.

ASU NSF I-Corps Site: Five-Week Training Program

What: Registered teams will go through a full remote five-week I-Corps training, which is an assumption/hypothesis-testing, customer-focused discovery process to gather important insights needed to maximize the impact of an Innovation. I-Corps affiliated teams who complete the training may be eligible to receive a $2K grant through the ASU NSF I-Corps Site. High-performing teams could be in a position to gain acceptance into the National I-Corps Program, which provides $50K+ grants for continued customer discovery efforts. 

Who: I-Corps teams have three primary members: the entrepreneurial lead (EL), the technical lead (TL), and the I-Corps mentor (IM). All three members of the team are expected to participate fully in the I-Corps training, which provides real-world, hands-on, immersive learning about what it takes to successfully transfer knowledge into products and processes that benefit society. 

Sample syllabus

Where: Virtually via Zoom. Details will be shared with all accepted participants in advance of the first session. 

Cost: Free







Denise McKenzie
Denise McKenzie, Lead Instructor

Denise is currently an adjunct instructor with the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program, training university teams from across theUS on translating their research into viable startups. She also works with founders and teaches the lean startup methodology at Innovation-Node Los Angeles (IN-LA). IN-LA is a collaboration of the University of Southern California (USC), California Instituteof Technology (Caltech), and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In addition, she works with entrepreneurs at the University of Hawaii, Arizona State University and several accelerators.

Denise has twenty years of experience as a patent litigator. Her practice focused on helping tech companies protect their ideas and inventions from theft by competitors. She also worked as an electrical engineer ata major aerospace company where she developed mathematical models of missile navigation systems.

Her interdisciplinary skill set allows her to advise both entrepreneurs and investors.

Brian Reynolds
Brian Reynolds, Past Co-Instructor

Brian is currently a Venture Mentor with the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at Arizona State University and is a co-facilitator of the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program to train university teams. He has a degree in chemistry and an MBA.

Brian has had extensive experience mentoring 75+ startup ventures at Arizona State University as well as in Ireland. Along with mentorship, Brian has a wide range of experience working in a variety of industries, including hardware and software, health care, Microsoft and consultancy.


Viktor Brandtneris, Past Co-Instructor