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The I-Corps™ at NIH

Apply for I-CorpsTM at NIH in 2016


We held our informational webinar regarding the I-Corps(TM) at NIH program for 2016 on Thursday, November 12, 2015. 

View the webinar materials here, or in the menu to the left.

In line with the President's new Strategy for American Innovation and following the success of the 2014  pilot cohort, NIH is offering this entrepreneurial training program across 13 Institute/Centers at the NIH and CDC to support NIH/CDC SBIR/STTR funded academic researchers and small businesses to accelerate the translation of innovations from the lab to clinical practice. In 2016, the I-Corps™ at NIH is expanded to offer two cohorts to SBIR/STTR Phase I grantees across 13 Institutes/Centers across the NIH and CDC.

Join the mailing list to receive updates about this program.

Based on the highly successful NSF I-Corps™ program, the I-Corps at NIH curriculum is designed to provide scientists from NIH SBIR funded companies with real-world, hands-on entrepreneurship training, facilitated by domain experts from the biotech sector. 

This new program seeks to accelerate the development and commercialization of new products and services arising from projects supported by currently funded NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards. In particular, the I-Corps™ program is designed to support training that will help project teams at NIH-funded small businesses overcome key obstacles along the path of innovation and commercialization.

Curriculum for the I-Corps™ at NIH:

  • Is an 8-week training program.
  • Introduces the concept of a “Business Model Canvas,” which provides the framework for pursing a hypothesis-driven validation approach to customer discovery.
  • Is taught by experienced, business-savvy instructors who work closely with project teams to help them explore potential markets for their Federally funded innovations.
  • Instructors teaching this pilot program are selected based on their specific domain expertise in the major product areas that comprise the biomedical industry.


Grant Supplement Awards

The selected I-Corps™ at NIH project teams will receive funding through grant supplement awards to support entrepreneurial training, mentorship, and collaboration opportunities that will assist them in translating their research ideas into viable products. 


Participation Requirements

To participate in the I-Corps™ at NIH pilot program, eligible SBIR/STTR grantees are required to assemble three-member teams that will work collaboratively to complete the activities and assignments required by the I-Corps™ training curriculum. These team members include:

  1. C-Level Corporate Officer: A high-level company executive with decision-making authority;
  2. Industry Expert: An individual with a prior business development background in the target industry; and
  3. Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI): The assigned PD/PI on the SBIR/STTR Phase I award.

At the beginning of the training program, the I-Corps™ project teams are required to attend an evening reception and intensive, three-day “Entrepreneurial Immersion” course. Project teams then participate in an eight-week (estimated) I-Corps™ training curriculum administered via online instruction. At the end of the course, each team must attend a two-day report-out session. It is anticipated that benefits for the participating I-Corps™ teams will include enhanced understanding and validation of the key components of the Business Model Canvas, significantly refined commercialization plans, and well-informed “pivots” in the overall commercialization strategy. Please re-visit this page for updates regarding course and curriculum information.


14 Institutes/Centers across NIH and CDC are participating. 

Review the Funding Opportunity Announcement to contact appropriate program staff with questions.

·        National Cancer Institute (NCI)

·        National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

·        National Institute on Aging (NIA)

·        National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

·        National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

·        National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

·        National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

·        National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

·        National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

·        National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

·        National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

·        National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

·        CDC/National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)

·        CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)




Updated: November 20, 2015