Applications Extended for I-Corps Program for Faculty and Students Interested in Commercialization

The Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub supports student, alumni and faculty entrepreneurs at the University of Arkansas.
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The Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub supports student, alumni and faculty entrepreneurs at the University of Arkansas.

Applications are open for the University of Arkansas I-Corps Site, STEP (STEAM Training in Entrepreneurial Practices). The site builds on existing programs that accelerate the commercialization of research by faculty and students.

A primary goal of this program is to encourage researchers to consider how the commercialization of their research might open new avenues of discovery and promote economic development in the state. All faculty, graduate students and undergraduates whose research holds commercial potential are encouraged to apply. Individuals from any discipline who have an interest in learning how to evaluate technology or healthcare-based business ideas are also encouraged to apply.

Program Dates (revised due to COVID-19):

  • March 10 — Applications open
  • July 20 — Application deadline
  • Jul 27 — Notification of acceptance
  • Aug. 14 — Opening workshop
  • Dec. 5 — I-Corps program ends

Now in its third year, this program will take place over three months in the summer of 2020. A two-day kickoff workshop will include instruction in lean startup principles and strategies for conducting interviews with industry stakeholders and potential customers. Teams are eligible to receive up to $3,250 in funding for travel to industry conferences and other events that allow them to conduct meaningful interviews and test ideas.

The STEP site will include undergraduate and graduate student teams and faculty from three UA System campuses: the University of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Arkansas Little Rock.

The I-Corps program was created by the National Science Foundation in 2011 to help faculty and students in the sciences learn how to apply lean startup methods for bringing new technologies to the marketplace. With funding provided by the program and the support and mentorship provided by the site, researchers and students will conduct market research, learn to identify product-market fit through interviews with potential customers and develop prototypes.

Participation in the STEP site will provide teams with a foundation of market validation that better positions technologies for further commercialization research funded by sources such as the University of Arkansas Commercialization Fund and the federal SBIR/STTR programs.

Teams also will be encouraged to take advantage of the growing Arkansas entrepreneurial ecosystem, which includes resources such as the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub at the University of Arkansas and statewide funding programs such as the Delta I-Fund, and to pursue further training through the competitive National I-Corps program. Each commercialization team will include an entrepreneurial lead, an academic lead and a mentor. Although teams are preferred, individuals who are not affiliated with teams are also encouraged to apply. Individuals will be matched to teams prior to the kickoff workshop.

Ed Pohl, professor and head of the Department of Industrial Engineering, is principal investigator on the grant. Bob Beitle, associate vice chancellor for research and innovation, and Cynthia Sides, director of the Office of Innovation and Industry Partnerships, are co-PIs on the grant.

Individuals and teams may apply at the I-Corps application page.

Contacts

Sarah Goforth, executive director
Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
479-225-7185, goforth@uark.edu

Andy Albertson, director of communications
Office of Economic Development
479-575-5606, aalbert@uark.edu

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