The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) goal is to help faculty and students perform customer discovery to find out if their innovation has commerical potential. Approximately thirty grants will be awarded annually in the range of $1,000 to $3,000 per team to support customer discovery.
UCLA NSF I-Corps Site awardees will complete an education component to prepare the team to apply for the NSF I-Corps Teams program which provides funding of $50,000 to do deeper market and commercialization proof-of-concept work around the team’s technology. Teams will also be encouraged to take advantage of UCLA’s unique collection of entrepreneurial plan competitions, on campus accelerators and incubators, and translational governmental funding.
You can apply with a full team consisting of an Entrepreneurial Lead, Academic Lead and Industry Mentor.*
The “Entrepreneurial Lead” can be a Post-Doctoral scholar, professional staff, graduate student, undergraduate or other student, with relevant knowledge of the technology and a commitment to investigating the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation.
The “Academic Lead” will be responsible for overall project management. The Academic Lead must have an academic appointment that normally qualifies them to submit proposals or play the role of PI in subsequent submissions to NSF.
The “Industry Mentor” will typically be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of academic labs. The UCLA I-Corps Site Team Selection Committee members will facilitate mentorship introductions.
*If you don’t have an Academic Lead or Industry Mentor, you may still apply.
Site team ideas or projects can originate from a variety of sources including student work, research (funded or unfunded), institutional or industrial projects. To be considered for the UCLA I-Site program, the topical focus of a project must be in an area(s) of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) normally supported by the NSF.
A primary objective of the NSF I-Corps Program is to train future scientists and engineers in the lean startup methodology and customer discovery. Each awardee will be required to learn about lean startup methodology by taking one of the following:
1) UCLA I-Site Lean Startup Course
(3x/year, Professors Osborne and Wilson)
Nine week workshop non-credit course focuses on lean startup instruction and methodology consistent with the NSF I-Corps curriculum. In addition to supporting translational research, this course will help train students to understand innovation and entrepreneurship.
2) MGMT 298D: Entrepreneurial Technology Commercialization and Innovation
(Winter 2016, Professors Osborne and Wilson)
The course is an introduction to the transformation of new knowledge and inventions into viable commercial products and services with particular emphasis on the technology being developed at major research universities like UCLA. This course is intended for MBA and graduate students.
3) MGMT 162: Entrepreneurial Technology Commercialization and Science Commercialization
(Winter 2016, Professor Wilson )
The course is an introduction to the transformation of new knowledge and inventions into viable commercial products and services with particular emphasis on the technology being developed at major research universities like UCLA. This course is intended for undergraduate students.
4) IN-LA NSF ZAP! Course
Innovation-Node Los Angeles (IN-LA) is a collaboration of the University of Southern California (USC), California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). ZAP! courses are offered quarterly by the ITA.
To apply to be a I-Corps Site Team and receive a grant of up to $3,000, please click on the "Apply Now" button. Applications are reviewed as submitted, but you are encouraged to apply before the end of the first week of each quarter (October 15, January 8, and April 1) for maximum consideration. You will be notified when your application is reviewed.
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