“Syracuse Physics was and still is a vast entryway to the future.” Words penned by alumnus and philanthropist Jay N. Zemel when he was in his 90s and reflecting on his experiences at Syracuse University. He earned a B.S. in…
NSF I-Corps Comes to Syracuse University, Free Short Course Offered
The National Science Foundation I-Corps (NSF I-Corps) gives researchers the opportunity to combine their strong technical and scientific knowledge with an entrepreneurial mindset, with the goal of helping bring technologies to market.
The Upstate New York I-Corps Node will bring its expertise to Syracuse through a free short course at the Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library this fall to connect Syracuse University faculty and students with seasoned entrepreneurs, potential industry partners and other researchers working with deep technology.
Registration is now open for the Sept. 28-Oct. 12 course.
Participants will learn how to acquire and apply information from the marketplace, customer interviews and industry partners. Individual researchers or whole teams can participate in the short course. Teams already working with industry mentors stand to maximize their experience in the short course, but a mentor is not required. Short course participation is a great way to connect with the nationwide NSF I-Corps network of mentors, sites, nodes and programming, as well as to better position projects for NSF and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding opportunities.
SU course dates are:
- Session 1, Sept. 28, 4-8 p.m., Blackstone LaunchPad, Bird Library
- Session 2, Sept. 29, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., Blackstone LaunchPad, Bird Library
- Session 3, Oct. 3, 2-3 p.m., via conference call
- Session 4, Oct. 10, 2-3 p.m., via conference call
- Session 5, Oct. 12, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., Blackstone LaunchPad, Bird Library
The course focuses on two topics: 1) customer discovery to identify and connect with the target market, assess needs, and develop a project to best serve customers; and 2) a validated business model to confirm the best pathway for taking technology to market and demonstrate to potential funders that assumptions have been tested.
Of the teams that participate in I-Corps training successfully, 40-50 percent win SBIR seed funding (up to $225,000).
The course will be taught by experienced faculty and mentors from the Upstate New York I-Corps Node, which acts as a hub for commercialization training in the Northeast, connecting researchers to valuable resources through national and regional I-Corps programming.
The Syracuse I-Corps course is co-sponsored by the Syracuse University Office of Technology Transfer, Syracuse University Innovation Law Center + NYS Science and Law Science and Technology Law Center, and the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars.
Who Should Apply?
New York-based academic researchers and student entrepreneurs who:
- have a tech innovation in any STEM field and want to explore its commercialization potential;
- are willing to find and talk to 30 potential customers in two weeks;
- may want to apply for the NSF I-Corps Teams national program and a $50,000 grant; and
- have one to three team members who can participate, including:
- required: one “entrepreneurial lead” (typically a graduate student or postdoc, sometimes an undergraduate student, with interest in pursuing a startup based on the technology)
- optional: one “technical lead” (faculty or senior lab staff) and an “industry mentor” (experienced entrepreneur) who will support the entrepreneurial lead in their market exploration
How It Works
During the free two-week course, researchers working on a technical innovation “get out of the lab” and talk with potential customers to identify the best product-market fit. The course begins with an in-person kickoff workshop, where teams learn how to use the Business Model Canvas, a hypothesis-testing methodology and customer discovery interviews to explore if there’s a viable market fit for their product idea. The course ends with an in-person closing workshop (half day), where teams present their findings, get more coaching, and learn about next steps with NSF I-Corps and other entrepreneurship programs. I-Corps short course graduates become eligible for national I-Corps teams.
For more information, contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org in the Syracuse University Office of Technology Transfer, email@example.com in the Syracuse University Innovation Law Center + NYS Science and Law Science and Technology Law Center, or firstname.lastname@example.org in the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars.