UNM Rainforest Innovations, the technology transfer and economic development organization for the University of New Mexico (UNM), and the Innovation Academy, UNM’s innovative program for entrepreneurial students, announced that they have been awarded supplemental funding to support their National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Site in the amount of $99,543. These additional funds will allow the organizations to extend their existing programs and provide additional mentoring to prepare teams for the national I-Corps program.
The NSF awarded the original grant in 2017 under its Innovation Corps – National Innovation Networks Sites Program. This was developed in order to build a sustainable ecosystem that successfully commercializes innovations from NSF-funded research through new company formation and entrepreneurial training for scientists and engineers. In 2011, the NSF launched a very successful pilot program and developed a curriculum based on the lean start-up theory.
The core of the I-Corps program focuses on recruiting commercialization teams comprised of a PI (faculty, postdoc, or student), an entrepreneur, and a mentor, who are supported to develop an idea, project, or research in a STEM area supported by the NSF. The program accepts proposals twice a year and each team receives seed funding in the amount of $3,000 to fund customer discovery efforts and proof-of-concept prototyping. Over the course of ten weeks, teams learn how to determine value proposition, customers, size of market, and market trends for their respective technologies.
To learn more about the Lobo Rainforest I-Corps program, please visit http://loborainforest.com/icorps/.