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Program Requirements

Program Curriculum

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Training Programs

I-Corps ASU Site Program

Customer Segments

In this session, instructors provide an introduction to the TEST course and teach how customer discovery directly correlates to the chances of creating a successful business.

Value Propositions

The second session defines the term value proposition, and teaches the importance of quantifying your competitive advantage. The class also covers how to approach and obtain customer interviews and a template for the interview.

Channels and Customer Relationships

The Channels class is introduces how a company delivers its message. The class discusses explains how awareness, interest, consideration, and closing strategies can compel a customer to make the purchase. Customer Relationships describe how companies can Keep and Grow their existing customer base, using eight different engagement tactics.


The single most important aspect of a business is how it generates income. This class describes how successful businesses implement multiple revenue streams, depending on the customer.

Key Partners and Key Resources

Differentiating between partners and resources can be confusing. This session identifies internal and external operations, and explains how growing companies can bring more of their partner activities in-house.

Key Activities and Cost Structures

This session investigates the primary operations of the business, and how activities, resources and partners drive the costs of the company.

Final Presentations

Each team will present their business model canvas, share core elements of their business model hypotheses, and key insights from the customer discovery process.


I-Corps National Program

How to prepare an Executive Summary for the I-Corps™ National Program

  1. Team Formation:

Identify a set of at least three I-Corps™ Team members to participate in the I-Corps™ National Cohort:

Entrepreneurial Lead (EL)

I-Corps™ Teams Mentor (IM)

Technical Lead (TL)

Typically, team members who complete your regional program will constitute the team for the National Cohort. However, occasionally not all three members of your regional team will be able to go to National due to schedule conflicts and other commitments. In that case, it is important for at least the EL or TL from your regional program to be part of the National team for continuity with the new member.

The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) could be a postdoctoral scholar, graduate or other student, staff member, researcher, or other personnel with relevant knowledge of the technology and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. The Entrepreneurial Lead should also be capable and have the will to support the transition of the technology, should the I-Corps™ Teams project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability.

The I-Corps™ Teams Mentor (IM) will typically be an experienced entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of Academic labs. The I-Corps™ Teams Mentor should be a third-party resource and may be recommended by the proposing institution. The I-Corps™ Teams Mentor will be responsible for advising the team on its progress through I-Corps™ and will usually have contacts in the industry area(s) being explored. Other than their direct expenses for program participation, Mentors are not compensated through I-Corps™ Teams awards – Mentors are part of a volunteer cadre of entrepreneurs.

The Technical Lead (TL)/Principal Investigator (PI) will typically be a faculty member, senior research scientist or postdoctoral scholar with deep and direct technical expertise in the actual core technology about which the I-Corps™ team is exploring commercial potential. Typically the TL/PI will also serve as the proposal point of contact.

Teams may have an additional member in the role of co-EL, or co-TL. Teams with more than four members will not typically be supported.


  1. Contents of the Executive Summary:

Prepare a one to two-page (maximum) Executive Summary that describes the following:

  1. Team Members. Composition and roles (EL, TL, IM, plus any additional co-EL, co-TL or co-IM) of the team members proposing to undertake the commercialization feasibility research and a brief description (one page) of each member's qualifications.
  2. Proposal Principal Investigator. Proposal Principal Investigator (PI) and a brief description of their connection to the team. In most cases the PI will also be the TL. The PI is the person who will be designated as the recipient of the NSF I-Corps™ National Cohort grant. It is important to check with your institution that the person assuming the role of the PI is eligible to receive NSF funding. If the PI is not eligible to receive NSF funding, the Site Lead may assume the role of the NSF PI and manage the award funds.
  3. Lineage. Relevant current/previous NSF awards establishing team eligibility. The lineage is typically an NSF grant number. For your Site, the number is: 1548031. If teams from your institution did not go through your regional program but are applying based on NSF research grant funding, they should use the award number for their research grant.
  4. Technology. Brief description of the core technology.
  5. Application/Market. Brief description of the potential commercial application.
  6. Current Plan. Brief description of the current commercialization plan.

When the proposed I-Corps™ Team is applying based on participation in a local or regional NSF-supported I-Corps™ training run by a current I-Corps™ Site or Node, a senior member of that I-Corps™ Site or Node staff must provide a recommendation for the team's consideration in the I-Corps™ Teams program. The technology underlying the effort will need to be consistent with NSF requirements on intellectual merit and represent a significant technical innovation.


  1. NSF Contact:

Forward the Executive Summary to:


Once we review your Executive Summary, you will be contacted about next steps.


  1. Telephone Interviews:

Teams that describe projects with viable commercialization potential will be scheduled to engage in a telephone interview with NSF's I-Corps™ Management Team. The purpose of this conference call is to assess the proposing team's capabilities and commitment to the program. At the conclusion of this initial call, teams may be invited for a second telephone interview that includes both the NSF I-Corps™ Management team and instructors of the I-Corps™ Teams Curriculum. At the successful conclusion of both conference calls, teams may be invited to submit full proposals.