WVU has been selected as a partner institution for the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Hub: Interior Northeast Region, an entrepreneurship training program for STEM researchers who have developed deep tech innovations.
This week, the NSF announced the addition of five new I-Corps Hubs that will scale the National Innovation Network, accelerating the translation of discoveries into solutions that benefit society. Each I-Corps Hub is funded at $3 million per year for five years and comprises a regional alliance of at least eight universities. WVU will receive nearly $1 million.
WVU will be part of the IN I-Corps Hub, along with Cornell University (the lead), Dartmouth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, Syracuse University, University of Rochester, University of Pittsburgh and University of Vermont.
The Interior Northeast region that stretches from New Hampshire to West Virginia is representative of large portions of the U.S. that are largely rural, economically underserved and working to restore economic vitality. IN I-Corps aims to expand the nation’s geography of innovation by creating a cohesive innovation ecosystem that delivers inclusive models of education and workforce training designed for and by innovators in rural regions and small cities.
“The NSF I-Corps program has been an incredible opportunity and support system for our entrepreneurship network at West Virginia University and across the state,” said Erienne Olesh, executive director of student and faculty innovation with the WVU Research Office. “We are thrilled to be able to continue and grow this resource and serve all innovators and entrepreneurs across our region. West Virginia’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is gaining exponential momentum thanks to the many resource providers and programs like I-Corps.”
Established in 2011, the I-Corps program is designed to support the commercialization of deep technologies, which grow from discoveries in fundamental science and engineering.
I-Corps Hubs form the operational backbone of the National Innovation Network — a network of universities, NSF-funded researchers, local and regional entrepreneurial communities and other federal agencies — that help researchers translate fundamental research results to the marketplace. The I-Corps Hubs work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem throughout the U.S.
The Interior Northeast Hub will officially launch on Jan. 1, 2023. Details are forthcoming for STEM researchers interested in learning about opportunities to participate in regional I-Corps courses at a Hub institution. For more information, visit in-icorps.org.
About I-Corps™: In 2011, the U.S. National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program was launched to support NSF's mission through experiential learning using the customer discovery process — allowing teams to quickly assess their inventions' market potential. I-Corps prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory to increase the economic and societal impact of NSF-funded and other basic research projects.