NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps)

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship partners with Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) to participate in the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, a National Science Foundation-funded initiative designed to prepare scientists and engineers to expand their focus beyond the laboratory and increase the impact of basic research. The purpose of I-Corps is to identify intellectual property with the greatest potential for social and economic impact and move it toward commercialization. 

McGuire Center faculty are participating as instructors in the I-Corps program alongside educators from the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic at the James E. Rogers College of Law, InnovateUA and the Arizona Center for Innovation. Participants in the I-Corps program are engaged in the I-Corps curriculum, which provides them with access to a customized curriculum of entrepreneurial education and coaching to maximize their opportunities for success.

TLA was selected as an I-Corps site in early 2016 and received a three-year, $300,000 NSF grant to distribute to selected I-Corps applicant teams. Funds will be split among 30 teams per year to help them move innovative research toward commercialization. Each team grant of approximately $3,000 will last for one to three months. 

I-Corps funds will be designated for teams working on UA-connected technologies, including:

  • Inventions arising out of the work of UA-employed researchers and faculty
  • Technologies being developed by companies connected to the UA through the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI), the UA incubator at the UA Tech Park
  • Student-developed technology innovations that demonstrate the potential for commercial and social impact

The first round of I-corps training began April 2016 and a McGuire Entrepreneurship Program team, TheraCea Pharma, was accepted into the first cohort of the I-Corps program. TheraCea Pharma, developed by doctoral students Iman Daryaei, biological chemistry, and Javier Castillo-Montoya, chemistry, along with Atul Patel, MBA, develops therapeutics for the more than one billion people who suffer from neurological disorders, taking early drug candidates through discovery and collaboration from bench to market. 

More information about the I-Corps program is available at techlaunch.arizona.edu/nsf-i-corps