Yale University Joins National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Northeast Hub

Yale University has been tapped to join the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps, a network of universities focused on nurturing researchers as they translate their innovative work for commercial viability. As a partner institution of the I-Corps Hub Northeast Region led by Princeton University, Yale will share its deep expertise in experiential learning and entrepreneurial training with faculty, staff, and students throughout the region.

“With the addition of Yale University to the NSF I-Corps Hub: Northeast Region, we are strengthening the transition of world-improving university discoveries into innovative solutions to real-world problems,” said Julius N. Korley, associate vice president of the Office of Economic Innovation & Partnerships at the University of Delaware and co-director of the I-Corps Hub Northeast Region. “Yale’s prominent work, vast experience, and strategic resources expand our Hub’s ability to connect with researchers from all backgrounds, including those who traditionally have been underrepresented in academic innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The I-Corps Hub Northeast Region is one of 10 I-Corps Hubs around the country. Each hub is supported by a 5-year, $15 million grant from the NSF to provide experiential entrepreneurial training to faculty, staff, and students across all fields of science and engineering. I-Corps Hubs form the operational backbone of the National Innovation Network – a network of universities, researchers, local and regional entrepreneurial communities, and other federal agencies – that help researchers translate fundamental research results to the marketplace. The I-Corps Hubs work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem throughout the U.S.

“We are excited to join I-Corps, a forward-looking initiative that aligns perfectly with our School’s commitment to fostering innovation from faculty, staff, and students,” said Jeffrey Brock, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science. “The quickly changing challenges of the 21st century require new and faster ways of getting groundbreaking research out of the lab and to where it will have the most impact. Teaming up with I-Corps brings us a step closer to doing so.”

The I-Corps program consists of fast-paced training in the discovery of industry needs, with a goal of informing both a technology development plan and an associated venture launch strategy. The program encourages the formation of teams led by seasoned scientists new to entrepreneurship and offers a method to explore possible commercial pathways under the tutelage of skillful advisors and instructors. I-Corps provides training in an evidence-driven framework used widely in the startup community; simultaneously, the teams interact directly with industry professionals who may benefit from disruptive technological innovation based on scientific research. This two-fold approach – advanced education and firsthand engagement – enables teams to rapidly sort through possible commercialization paths to identify the most promising path forward. Since its inception in 2011, approximately 2,800 teams have participated in the program.

“I am delighted to learn that Yale is now a member of the NSF I-Corps Northeast Hub, which provides our School’s innovators an exceptional opportunity to advance their research to markets where they can impact society in a positive way,” said Mark Saltzman, Goizueta Foundation Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Deputy Dean for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

As a member of the I-Corps, Yale will receive $286,800 over four years to provide experiential training focused on entrepreneurship to participating teams, including faculty, staff, and students working in science and engineering fields.  

“The students in the School of Engineering & Applied Science are incredibly excited about the affiliation with I-Corps as it allows them access to - and examples of - professionals, faculty members, and entrepreneurs who have ‘made it’ as these students practice their craft while on Yale’s campus,” said Vincent Wilczynski, Deputy Dean of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science and the James S. Tyler Director of the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation & Design.

As one of the world’s leading research universities, Yale’s excellence in research and innovation helps solve real-world problems and furthers its mission to improve the world today and for future generations. The University’s exceptionally high level of applied research is bolstered by Yale Ventures, translating university innovations into impactful products, services, and social ventures to accelerate the expansion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Yale Ventures is pleased to see the NSF I-Corps process becoming a more readily available resource for helping faculty innovators assess their product-market fit,” said Josh Geballe, Senior Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Managing Director of Yale Ventures. 

Sarah M. Miller, associate dean of Yale University's School of Engineering & Applied Science, will serve as the NSF I-Corps Northeast Hub Faculty Lead for Yale University. As Faculty Lead, Miller will be the point of contact for Yale researchers interested in engaging with I-Corps programs and trainings. For more information and to engage with NSF I-Corps Northeast Hub, contact Dean Miller.