The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program is designed to aid academic research and STEM-based innovations in the transition from lab to practical application in society. In partnership with MIT and the NE Regional I-Corps Node, Rensselaer offers a three-week online program to undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff from capital region colleges and universities. Teams start in the Spark program with research-based concepts and conduct interviews with potential customers as well as the business model canvas to understand the potential of launching a startup.
Team ideas or projects can originate from research (funded or unfunded) or institutional or industrial projects, as well as STEM-based student work. The topical focus of a project can be (but is not limited to) medical devices, new materials, software, physical products, the internet of things, hardware, wearables, etc. The program provides infrastructure, guidance, resources, networking opportunities, training, and modest funding (up to $3,000 per team) to give groups the ability to explore the marketplace beyond their campus borders.
Upon completion of the I-Corps regional program, participants may be eligible to apply for the NSF I Corps Team program -- an intensive six-week NSF training with the opportunity to be awarded a $50,000 grant -- as well as many other funding opportunities.