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I-Corps FAQ

Please see some Frequently Asked Questions around the I-CorpsTM at NIH program answered below.


FAQs from Applicants


Q. Are Direct-to-PhaseII awardees eligible?

A. No, Direct-to-PhaseII awardees are not eligible for I-Corps at NIH. This program is designed to complement activities within the scope of the parent SBIR Phase I (R43) or STTR Phase I (R41) grant or the Phase I portion of an SBIR/STTR Fast-Track grant (R43/R41, respectively) through March 28, 2017 for grantees of participating ICs from NIH/CDC.


Q. May I apply for a no-cost extension to meet the eligibility requirements?

A. Grantees should not request an extension solely for the purpose of participating in the I-Corps™ program.  Grantees should only request a no-cost extension if additional time is needed to expend the grant budget and complete R&D activities. 


Q. Is the I-Corps™ training program only for new companies and/or inexperienced teams?

A. No, not necessarily.  The pilot program is intended to instruct teams developing early stage (Phase I) projects to help inform next steps.  Although teams with limited commercialization experience may benefit the most, all teams will take away valuable general lessons, as well as specific insights around their particular technology and/or innovation.


Q. Who makes a good Industry Expert?

A. A good Industry Expert is someone with the right “rolodex” that has industry contacts in your area of commercialization. The Industry Expert should be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur with proximity to the small business and experience in translating technologies to the marketplace. The Industry Expert may be someone that has an established relationship with the company (e.g., Board Member), or this person may be selected as a third-party resource. Ideally, the Industry Expert should have prior experience in the development and commercialization of other products within the broader technology space related to the specific SBIR/STTR project under development.


Q. Who is responsible for identifying the Industry Expert?

A. The applicant small business is responsible for identifying the team's Industry Expert. Teams may source the Industry Expert internally (e.g., Business Development Manager, Board Member, etc.) or externally (e.g., consultant or mentor with the National Innovation Network).


Q. Do all three of the team members need to be present at the Kickoff and Closing workshops?

A. YES! Participation in the in-person Kickoff and Closing workshops is mandatory.


Q. Is there flexibility in how the three required roles are filled on the I-Corps™ Team?          

A. Yes. For example, if the PD/PI is also the CEO, then it might be appropriate to select a different senior level scientist to serve in the PD/PI role.  In other cases, you may designate an alternate C-Level Corporate Officer to lead the team. All teams should include three members and should be led by someone with decision-making authority within the company.  We will not accept teams unless they meet the three-member team requirement (no more, no less).


Q. What should be included in the budget?

A. Only direct costs associated with completing the I-Corps program should be included. Total budget cannot exceed $50,000.

$20,000 per team should be budgeted to cover course registration costs.

Remaining budget may go to:

·         Travel costs for two trips to the course site for the entire team

·         Travel costs to conduct interviews with customers, partners, etc.

·         Personnel time



Indirect costs

R&D costs


Q. Where will the Kickoff and Closing workshops take place?

A. The locations and venues for the 2017 cohorts have not been disclosed. The Kickoff and Closing workshops will take place within the United States.


Q. Will my Intellectual Property (IP) rights be protected when I discuss my ideas with the class?

A. Customer discovery does not require that you share the specifics of your IP.  However, you will be sharing with the class what you learned on a weekly basis about reimbursement, regulation, customers, partners, etc.  All of your presentations, customer discovery and validation notes, and your business model canvas, will be shared with the teaching team.  If you have specific legal questions, you should consult an IP attorney.


Q. Where else may I learn more about the program?

A. An informational webinar will be hosted on September 28, 2016. Register online to learn more:

You may also visit our website for more information:


Q. How do I apply?

A. We encourage applicants to apply electronically. Instructions are in the Funding Opportunity Announcement for PA-16-414For applicants, a sample application exerpt is available: IGI Technologies



Q. How much time will we have to spend on I-Corps?

A. To successfully complete the I-Corps™ at NIH Program, the entire I-Corps™ team should be deeply committed and dedicated to the time-intensive curriculum. Each team member should plan to spend at least 20 hours per week on I-Corps™ activities and learning exercises for the full duration of the 8-week program.