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NSF I-Corps

NSF I-Corps™

Got an idea?

NSF I-Corps™ training is the first step in the Path-to-Market for your product. This hands-on workshop series will guide you through the process of product development using the Lean Startup Methodology and with the help of a mentor. Participants will learn how to validate their ideas for the market, how to pitch their ideas to investors, and how to work with mentors to create an investor presentation.

Admitted projects will receive $1,000 in NSF Seed Funding for market validation and for building a prototype.


I-Corps BulbObjectives of the Program:

  • Validate the market potential for the idea

  • Effectively communicate the value of your idea to investors and partners

  • Learn the basics of entrepreneurship and commercialization

  • Work with seasoned mentors

  • Funding to develop prototype or customer validation

  • Develop your network

  • Gateway to other programs such as NSF I-Corps™ Nationals or IGE’s Tech Accelerator




Program Overview

IGE runs the NSF I-Corps™ program 3 times a year.  The cohort consists of 4 sessions over 3-4 weeks and generally held on Thursday evenings. In between classes, the teams are expected to meet with their mentors and conduct customer interviews. The NSF I-Corps™ curriculum is based on real-world, hands-on, immersive learning that involves finding customers and understanding their problems in order to achieve a product/market fit. Participants are expected to engage with other teams and share with the class what they learn each week—constructive feedback to other classmates is expected.

By the end of the four-week training program, teams will:

  • Learn key concepts of the lean startup methodology

  • Accelerate understanding of the market landscape

  • Interview at least 40 potential customers or end users


We are currently accepting applications for NSF I-Corps™ Spring 2021 Cohort.

Apply Now


Application Deadline: October 1, 2021

The cohort of NSF I-CorpsTM runs:

I-Corps Week 1 - October 12, 2021

I-Corps Week 2 - October 19, 2021

I-Corps Week 3 - October 26, 2021

I-Corps Week 4 - November 2, 2021

I-Corps Week 5 - November 8, 2021 (Monday)

The cohort will run for 4 consecutive weeks, Tuesdays 5:30 - 8:30 pm via Zoom.


For further information see our FAQs

Education and Training

Eligibility Requirements

Program Commitment

Attend four mandatory classes and complete homework assignments.  Interface with your mentor between classes.

Project Type

Originate from student work, research (funded or unfunded), institutional, or industrial projects

Team Composition

All UC San Diego students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and recent alumni are eligible to apply. It is required that participants apply to this program as a team of at least two people.