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NSF i-Corps

NSF I-Corps @ UC Merced

The I-Corps training is not about how to write a research paper, business plan or NSF proposal. The result is not a publication or a deck of slides or even a scientific discovery. Instead, the entire I-Corps training is about engaging with industry contacts, talking to potential customers, partners, and competitors, and encountering the uncertainty and excitement of creating successful innovations. Connecting the university lab to industry contacts, exploring commercial potential through the Customer Discovery, is what the effort is all about. US NSF-I-Corps

Teams participate together in the I-Corps training which provides real-world, hands-on, immersive learning about what it takes to successfully transfer knowledge into products and processes that benefit society.

Fall 2023 I-Corps @ UC Merced

Last fall we saw thirteen teams participate in I-Corps @ UC Merced over the course of ten weeks. The technology they market-tested included therapeutics, diagnostics, new biological platforms, solar thermal, algorithms, software, air and water quality systems, agtech robotics, IoT systems, physics, climate resilience. Most of the thirteen teams came away with a different view of their potential market as they did their customer discovery.

Spring 2024 sessions will take place in March and April, online

The I-Corps training course is a free program where teams learn how to conduct customer interviews to gain customer feedback and define customer segments for a current or recent University or National Lab technology.

FAQs about I-Corps @ UC Merced

What should you expect?

In Spring 2024, you'll learn the Lean Startup methodology and do at least fifteen customer discovery interviews while building your professional industry connections and furthering your career opportunities.

Do you need to have a company?

You don’t need to have a company, just a potentially licensable invention. This program can help you decide how to move the invention forward. If you already have a company, the program can help you define your value proposition and customer segments and find more partners and customers through the customer discovery process.

Do you need to have a team?

If you don’t have a team, you can form a team from other participants. You will need at least one teammate to participate with you and even a temporary teammate.

Do you need to be a UC Merced student?

All UC Merced students and faculty are welcome to participate in the program.