August 1, 2011

NSF Launches New Innovation Program

By Brianna C. Fields

The National Science Foundation (NSF) on July 28 launched a new program to help develop basic scientific and engineering discoveries into new technologies, products, and processes.  The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program is a public-private partnership among the NSF, Kauffman Foundation, and Deshpande Foundation.  The goal of the program, according to the NSF press release, is to “connect NSF-funded scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs.”

 The I-Corps program will initially support 100 projects per year, at $50,000 per award.  The program places a $5,000 limit on facilities and administrative cost reimbursement for all I-Corps program recipients.

Each grant will support an I-Corps team, composed of a principal investigator, a mentor, and an entrepreneurial lead.  Over a period of six months, each team will determine what resources are needed to move research to the stage of technology development, as well as evaluate competing technologies and determine the value that the I-Corps-supported technology would add to the marketplace.  While I-Corps proposals will be evaluated using the standard merit review criteria approved by the National Science Board — Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts — they will also be evaluated on two additional criteria: the potential impact on the market and the time horizon to impact.

NSF anticipates investing $1.25 million of its FY 2011 appropriation in the I-Corps program.  The Foundation also expects to secure private investments for the program in FY 2011 and 2012. 

Read NSF’s press release here.

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