National Science Foundation I-Corps

9394548338_f6813b0674_z-1.jpgDo you have research or an innovative idea with commercial potential? UM’s NSF I-Corps Site wants to hear from you!

The University of Montana (UM) through the Blackstone LaunchPad has been named an Innovation-Corps Site (I-Corps).


The program’s goal is to create a STEM-focused ecosystem which successfully commercializes research and innovations. In short to accelerate the commercialization of research and innovative ideas.

The I-Corps program will provide training and coaching to help researchers and innovators identify target markets, conduct market research and evaluate market readiness. In addition, teams will receive grants of up to $2500 to further their commercialization research effort. Each team will consist of:

  • Technical lead
  • Entrepreneurial lead
  • Mentor

The I-Corps program is a 5-week program which includes the I-Corps Customer Discovery Academy  comprising three 1.5-hour classes focusing on how to:

  • Identify target markets
  • Conduct customer research
  • Gain and understanding of technology commercialization and barriers to success

Teams then work over the 5 weeks to perform targeted customer interviews and evaluate feedback to refine or revise the team’s understanding of its target market and commercial potential.

In the final week of the program teams reach a go/no-go decision on whether to continue or re-direct the commercialization potential of their idea. The final week also  features an event where teams present their findings and where key community partners will be invited to encourage networking and connect teams with additional resources.

The Exploration Grants up to $2500 can be used to support the customer discovery process. Potential uses include travel to consult experts, interview customers or attend training events at the Bay Area I-Corps Node.

In addition, selected teams from the UM site will be candidates to apply for regional and national I-Corps programs. Teams at that level benefit from further commercialization training, support and up to $50,000 to support their effort.

The program is open faculty, staff, students as well as community members.  

To apply for the program click here.

Have Questions?

Paul Gladen
Director, Accelerate Montana & Blackstone LaunchPad