About I-Corps Florida

The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology that has been supported previously by NSF-funded research.

NSF Innovation Corps

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) is a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects. The approach to entrepreneurship uses techniques developed to validate each commercial opportunity in a recognized, effective way: customer and business model development.

The vehicle for commercialization activities will most often be start-ups founded by the I-Corps participants; successful I-Corps projects will be prepared for business formation.

The I-Corps programs feed the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

NSF will work with the private sector to bring additional resources to the table (in the form of partnerships and finance), when warranted.

This website is a portal to National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) activities in the Florida region.

Florida's emergence as a powerhouse of academic innovation

  • Florida’s population is more than 19 million, of which 61.4% are ages 18–65 and 74.4% of them have bachelor’s degrees (US Census, 2010).
  • Four Florida universities are included in the top 100 patent ranking: University of South Florida, which ranked 10th in the U.S. with 104 patents, University of Florida Research Foundation (UF), which ranked 15th in the U.S. with 87 patents, University of Central Florida(UCF), which ranked 23rd in the U.S. with 66 patents, and Florida State University (FSU), which ranked 52nd in the U.S. with 30 patents.
  • 3rd in the nation for academic patents per 1,000 S&E doctorate holders in academia (NSF, 2014)
  • 5th in the nation for S&E doctorates conferred per 1,000 employed S&E doctorate holders (NSF, 2014), 10th in SBIR awards over the last 5 years (www.sbir.gov), and 21st among the world’s largest economies (Enterprise Florida, 2014)
  • 4th in the nation in number of startups (1,000+), nearly 300 of which are technology-based industries. Of these, 30% are women-owned and 43% are minority-owned. (Startup America Partnership)
  • Florida’s High Tech Corridor, which spans a 23-county region in central Florida, is 4th among the top high-tech hubs in the country for open high-tech jobs, according to analysis of labor statistics (Bright Labs., 2012).
  • Florida houses the National Academy of Inventors. All major Florida Universities are institutional members.

Transitioning Technologies

NSF recognizes that transitioning technology out of an academic laboratory requires skill sets and knowledge that differ from those required for research, and those skills and expertise are much more common in a start-up environment than an academic one. NSF has long supported the development of human capital, and I-Corps will help develop entrepreneurial knowledge and skills in an important new cadre of scientists and engineers.

Over a period of six months, each NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Team will methodically identify and address knowledge gaps to ascertain the technology disposition: What resources will be needed? What are the current solutions? What value will this innovation add?

The Innovation Ecosystem

Through the creation and strengthening of NSF activities and programs as well as through links with other government agencies, NSF will help foster innovation among faculty and students, promote regional coordination and linkages, and develop technology-based networks of researchers. By instilling an understanding of innovation and providing opportunities for knowledge transfer between academia and industry, NSF will equip more faculty and students to be creative, technologically-savvy leaders.

NSF's contribution to the innovation ecosystem encourages American colleges and universities to promote "engines of innovation" that operate in close partnership with industry across numerous disciplines. The ultimate goal is to extend America's historical reputation for ingenuity to a new recognition as "a nation of innovators."

National Innovation Network

Together, the I-Corps Regional Nodes will foster understanding on how to:

  • Identify, develop and support promising ideas that can generate value,
  • Create and implement tools and resources that enhance our nation's innovation capacity,
  • Gather, analyze, evaluate and utilize the data and insight resulting from the experiences of those participating in I-Corps, and
  • Share and leverage effective innovation practices on a national scale--to improve the quality of life for the U.S. citizenry

Innovation Ecology in the State of Florida

The Florida High Tech Corridor Council (The Corridor) was established by the Florida Legislature in 1996 to attract, retain, and grow high-tech industry and to help develop the workforce to support those industries in the 23-county service areas in the central part of Florida, including USF, UCF, and UF. The Council manages a research funding initiative called the Matching Grants Research Program, which has invested more than $60 million to create a broader economic impact that has been projected to exceed $1.3 billion.

The Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research’s administers the Seed Capital Accelerator Program, which provides repayable loans ranging from $50,000–$300,000 to qualified companies with publically-funded technology. The State has provided more than $15M of funding to support this program. Funds have been used to build prototypes, conduct preclinical studies, and launch products.

The Florida Biomedical Research Program, administered by the Florida Department of Health, includes technology-transfer-related early-stage funding for innovations in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or cure of tobacco-related diseases.

Business competitions, such as the Cade Museum competition, the Florida Blue competition, FinTech Challenge, Innovation Concourse, MegaWatt, etc., can be a source of follow-on funding for the teams. They typically offer support in the range of $10K–$100K.

Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership serving as Florida's primary organization devoted to statewide economic development by supporting, attracting innovative, high-growth industries.

The Florida Venture Forum’s goal is to help ensure the success of entrepreneurial ventures by offering expert counsel, educational advice, and managerial assistance. The Forum is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that is supported locally by.

GrowFL helps second-stage companies grow their businesses in Florida through programs that provide strategic research and peer-to-peer CEO mentoring.

Southeast BIO’s mission is to foster the growth of the life sciences industry in the southeastern United States by promoting entrepreneurship and bringing together the key stakeholders active in the development of the industry.

BioFlorida is Florida's independent statewide bioscience organization and serves its members by providing the infrastructure to exchange information and ideas through industry specific programming, education, networking, and legislative initiatives.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Innovation and Startup Scholars Program has a six-month program in which selected entrepreneurs are provided with mentorship, guidance, and assistance in three critical areas: seed capital, best management practices, and sales growth.

The Florida Virtual Entrepreneurship Center (FLVEC) is a free web portal connecting entrepreneurs with business support organizations, programs, and service providers that can help to support and grow their business.

Florida Inventors Hall of Fame honors and celebrates those inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, our state and our nation.

National Academy of Inventors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

I-Corps News

National Academy of Inventors Sign Memorandum of Agreement With US Patent and Trademark Office
April 26, 2016
NAI and USPTO officials signed agreement during NAI's Fifth Annual Conference

Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors Inducted at United States Patent and Trademark Office
April 21, 2016
2015 keynote speech provided by U.S. Commissioner for Patents Andrew Hirshfeld

U.S. Commissioner for Patents, National Academy of Medicine President Speak at NAI Conference
April 11, 2016
The 5th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors will take place Apr. 14-15 in Washington D.C.

USF I-Corps Inaugural Class Named USF I-Corps Fellows
February 26, 2016
More than two dozen USF students, faculty, and business mentors completed USF's inaugural I-Corps Boot Camp, and were recognized as USF I-Corps Fellows.

USF Leads the State with Seven NSF Innovation Corps Team Awards
February 4, 2016
With seven teams selected for the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program in 2015, the University of South Florida ranked first in Florida and third among all universities nationwide. No other university in Florida had more than two teams.

Milka Derisma to Serve on National Student Transfer Panel
November 30, 2015
Making Dreams Come to Life

UCF "Smartphone Drug Test" Team Selected for Prestigious NSF National I-Corps Program
November 23, 2015
Team's Leader Also is UCF's First to Earn NIJ STEM Fellowship

FAMU, FSU launch inaugural technology commercialization accelerator program
November 3, 2015
A joint effort by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Florida State University and other community partners has resulted in a new program designed to accelerate the commercialization of university research.

USF's Status as I-Corps Site Takes Ideas from 'Beaker to Boardroom'
September 1, 2015
As one of only three dozen institutes nationwide to be recognized as an "Innovation Corps Site" by the National Science Foundation, USF will help inventors, not just from the university but around the region, learn how to turn their ideas into potential products.

Innovation Corps will help USF turn academics, students into Inventors
August 19, 2015
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor highlights USF's role as an economic engine and the new I-Corps at USF

Prestigious National Designation for USF Aims to Turn Research into Commercial Products, Help Launch Start-ups
May 20, 2015
University of South Florida becomes the second in Florida to be named an I-Corps site by the National Science Foundation

UCF I-Corps Now Recruiting Scientists and Engineers to Apply to Participate in Fall Program
May 15, 2015
NSF's Flagship Program Focuses on Moving Innovations Beyond the Lab and into the Marketplace

UCF Awarded Federal Grants to Expand Entrepreneurship Outreach in Central Florida
April 9, 2015
Community Partners Rally to Generate $1.5 Million in Matching Funding to Foster Culture of Innovation throughout Region

USF and Tampa Bay WaVE Partnership Receives $500,000 Grant to Increase Region's Entrepreneurship
March 31, 2015
Federal grant expected to aid startup companies and create jobs for the area

iSchool's Dr. Ho awarded NSF I-CORPS grant
January 15, 2015
Dr. Shuyuan Mary Ho was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for her project, "I-Corps: Market Impact Identification of Dyadic Attribution Model for Disposition Assessment Using Online Games."

USF I-Corps Leadership Team Certified Lean LaunchPad Educators
Four USF faculty had the opportunity to learn the Lean LaunchPad curriculum directly from its founder, Steve Blank, and Jerry Engel of the UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business. Dr. Sudeep Sarkar, Professor of Computer Science & Engineering; Valerie McDevitt, Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer & Business Partnerships; Richard Berman, Director, Patel College of Global Sustainability and Visiting Social Entrepreneurship Professor in Residence, Muma College of Business; and Glenn Whichard, Licensing Manager, Engineering, USF Patents & Licensing participated in an intensive training workshop in California for faculty of I-Corps Sites around the country.

National Academy of Inventors Member Institutions Dominate NSF I-Corps Team Awards
November 25, 2014
Eight of the top 12 universities nationally are NAI members

University of South Florida leads state with five NSF I-Corps Team awards
November 19, 2014
USF ranks third nationwide for NSF I-Corps teams in 2014

National Academy of Inventors Member Institutions Dominate NSF I-Corps Team Awards
November 15, 2014
Eight of the top 12 universities nationally are NAI members

UCF Member of NSF's National Innovation Network
August 18, 2014
UCF has been selected by the National Science foundation (NSF) to provide Florida's first implementation of one of the agency's flagship programs to foster innovation among faculty and students, promote regional coordination and linkages in the innovation ecosystem, as well as develop a National Innovation Network, NSF's I-Corps™.

iSchool team receives I-Corps Entrepreneur Training Program grant from National Science Foundation
July 9, 2014
A faculty member and doctoral student from Florida State University's School of Information are part of a three-person group that received an I-Corps Teams grant of $50,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to participate in NSF's flagship I-Corps Entrepreneur Training Program.

CCI visiting faculty member a facilitator at new start-up boot camp
June 25, 2014
Florida State University College of Communication & Information visiting faculty member Farhood Basiri is one three facilitators for a new boot camp in business development called, "Startup Gauntlet," hosted by the university.

Regional Partners

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Contact Information

Email: Sarkar, Sudeep