Virginia Tech® home

Virginia Tech I-Corps


As Virginia Tech faculty members and graduate students, our community has access to one of the nation’s leading innovation programs. The National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program 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.

NSF I-Corp Hub Mid-Atlantic Region

How can the Virginia Tech I-Corps short course help you?


Explore taking new technology to the marketplace.


Get entrepreneurial training, support, and learn how to apply for $50,000


Increase chances of receiving an SBIR/STTR award

Program Details


The I-Corps program, funded by the National Science Foundation, offers workshops and mentorship to help scientific researchers become entrepreneurs. The program provides funding for teams to validate their customer market so they can confidently choose whether to pursue commercialization and prepare to apply for SBIR funding.

1) Short Course: Regional

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.

  • Workshops on business model and customer discovery
  • Taught by successful entrepreneurs using Lean Launchpad methodology
  • 2 half-day sessions to “kick off” and half-day “closing workshop”
  • Weekly 90-minute online coaching sessions
  • Conduct 30 customer discovery interviews
  • Become eligible for national I-Corps Teams

2) I-Corps Teams: National

I-Corps Teams is a nation-wide program composed of academic researchers, student entrepreneurs and business mentors that participate in rigorous curriculum administered through on-site activities and via online instruction.

  • 7-week national cohort for top teams from across the US (Offered 16x per year)
  • $25-50k to do 100+ customer discovery interviews anywhere you need to go
  • Personalized instruction and team mentoring from successful entrepreneurs
  • 3-day in-person “Kickoff” workshop, 6 weeks to conduct interviews; 90-minute weekly report ins; and 2-day “Lessons Learned” workshop
  • Decide whether to pursue commercialization
  • Identify next steps including SBIR application

What is NSF's I-Corps Program?

The National Science Foundation’s I-Corps 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 member of the I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Hub, 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.

Upcoming Regional Short Courses within the I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Hub

Virginia Tech I-Corps Short Course

Course Dates: September 2023 has been canceled due to low enrollment.

Updates will be forthcoming for the Spring 2024 Short Course.

Additional I-Corps Short Course Offerings:

Virginia Tech faculty and researchers can participate in any course offered by universities within the NSF I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Hub. Please click the following link to view upcoming programs offered by members of the hub:  Upcoming Courses

Mark Mondry

Director, LAUNCH
Virginia Tech

Andrea Hill

Associate Director, LAUNCH
Virginia Tech

Roberto Melendez, Ph.D.

Associate Director, LAUNCH, Biomedical and Health Sciences and Technology
Virginia Tech

Teresa McCoy

Project Coordinator, LAUNCH
Virginia Tech



Proof of Concept Program


We’re working together to build, utilize, and sustain the national innovation ecosystem

Virginia Tech is a member of the NSF I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Hub. The hub, along with all other I-Corps Hubs across the country, work together to develop and sustain innovation in the U.S. Other members of the Mid-Atlantic Hub include Johns Hopkins University, The University of Maryland, George Washington University, Penn State, NC State University, and more.

Virginia Tech logo
UMD logo
GWU logo
johns hopkins university logo