Virginia Tech®home

Virginia Tech I-Corps Program

National I-Corps Logo
VT logo

The National Science Foundation’s I-Corps national program is designed to take scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs of every technical background beyond the campus labs and classrooms and toward commercialization. Since I-Corps’ initial launch with NSF, it has been adopted and applied by NIH, NASA, DOD, DHS, and many other government entities as well as many private companies. 

Virginia Tech is a founding member of DC I-Corps Regional Node and now works  in collaboration with University of Maryland, College Park,  George Washington University, and Johns Hopkins University offering regional short courses that prepare teams to both apply for and participate in the national program. All of the methodologies taught shift thinking and approaches for not only tech translation but research and teaching methods as well. 

The NSF I-Corps program began in 2011 and is focused on risk reduction in relationship to tech transition through the application of customer discovery and business intelligence gathering and mentoring by experienced industry business leaders. Instructors are entrepreneurs in their own right and coach scientists on evidenced-based entrepreneurship and how to develop a repeatable, scalable business model. Thousands of faculty and students have employed the program - and its $50,000 grant - to create winning business decisions, raise millions of dollars in funding and launch companies or license IP. 

As Virginia Tech faculty members and graduate students, our community has access to one of the nation’s leading innovation programs. I-Corps can help you ascertain the commercial potential of your team’s innovation or invention while assisting you in developing business skills and broadening your professional network.

At Virginia Tech, our regional course prepares your team to apply to the national program in a unique fashion. Not only do we introduce you to the Business Model Canvas and its application as well as customer discovery, we help you learn how to analyze the data you are gathering from potential customers and uncover its meaning for your startup. 

If your research has led to an innovation or invention for which you believe there is a commercial application, then I-Corps can help you determine its unique value and potential customer base. 


Rafael Davalos

“It is incredible how much insight you gain in such a short amount of time.”

Rafael Davalos, L. Preston Wade Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM)

NSF I-Corps Participant


For more information about VT’s I-Corps program and how to apply to the national training, contact Lisa K. Garcia at

NSF I-Corps at the national level: You and your team receive mentoring, entrepreneurial training and $50,000 for customer discovery. Many teams move forward to apply for and win SBIR/STTR grants to further their ventures!

NSF I-Corps Teams FAQ

Intro to I-Corps Video

DC I-Corps/Virginia Tech Short Course: Spring 2021