Carnegie Mellon University

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NSF I-Corps Hub Program

The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program helps university-based researchers investigate the commercial potential of their STEM-related technology.

CMU has joined the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub, one of the five inaugural I-Corps Hubs. The goal of the I-Corps Hubs program is to create and sustain a diverse, inclusive innovation ecosystem in the United States by establishing tools and training activities, funding research, providing opportunities to diverse communities and sharing effective innovation practices across the country. The program supports the commercialization of deep technologies with a university connection, which grow from discoveries in fundamental science and engineering. Eligible teams that complete the I-Corps regional program have an opportunity to apply for the I-Corps Teams program for a $50K grant to continue their customer discovery activities.

The impact of the Hub I-Corps program at CMU (as of 3/2024): 
27 CMU startups participated in I-Corps Hub regional programs
$3.4M in follow on funding to participating startups
5 teams accepted to accelerator programs
10 teams accepted to the I-Corps National Teams program
1 SBIR/STTR Phase I grant received

The impact of the I-Corps Site program at CMU (2014-2021): 
208 I-Corps Site teams with 687 program participants       
$129M in follow on funding to teams
39 teams accepted to accelerator programs
12 teams accepted to the I-Corps National Teams program
18 SBIR/STTR Phase I and 9 Phase II grants received by teams
6 teams were acquired
32% of teams had founders from STEM underrepresented minority groups

For more information about the CMU I-Corps Site program, click here.


FeiFei Fu, co-founder of Magnify Biosciences. " journey has been deeply enriched by my involvement in the NSF I-Corps National Cohort Program. The I-Corps program fundamentally shifted our mindset towards not just refining our technology but also solving a significant market pain point with a recurring need for a better solution—a niche our technology could fill."


Mentor Opportunities

Are you a seasoned entrepreneur interested in mentoring Mid-Atlantic Hub I-Corps teams? Some of the benefits of mentoring I-Corps include:

  • Exposure to cutting edge, deep technologies, at the earliest stages 
  • Intellectual stimulation and enhancing personal/professional skills 
  • Expand your network
  • An opportunity for meaningful employment/advisor opportunities
  • “Right of passage” to become an NSF I-Corps instructor
  • The feeling of accomplishment and “giving back” - they need your help
  • Insider access to valuable investment opportunities

Apply to be a mentor!