National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Program

NSF I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Logo

UNC Charlotte was selected as a U.S. National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) Site and joined the Mid Atlantic I-Corps Regional Hub in January 2024. The Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub is a collaboration of research institutions spanning North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania. Led by the University of Maryland, the hub pools the combined resources of universities to standardize and offer I-Corps training across the region.

NSF I-Corps is for UNC Charlotte faculty, students and staff to explore the commercial possibilities of their ideas and research. This six week program consists of four workshops and provides University innovators with commercialization advice, training and funding to identify potential customers. Upon completion of the program, teams will have gained:

  • ‘Lab to Market’ knowledge that can lead to commercial success
  • Experience in the NSF funding pipeline
  • Funding opportunities in excess of $1 Million

Our NSF I-Corps Regional Program has taken a total of 200+ University technology teams through a six-week customer discovery program and has 11% of these teams advancing to the NSF National I-Corps Program.


Summer 2024 Cohort Information

Applications are currently open for the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Short Course Regional Program at UNC Charlotte and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

The I-Corps at Charlotte include three live sessions and two one-on-ones, with the program goal of arriving at a “go” or “no-go” team decision on whether to pursue commercialization of a technology.

Teams will receive instruction on performing customer discovery and market research at the beginning of the course and will then perform customer interviews each week. Each team will present on their interview findings at the weekly meeting sessions.

  • Session 1: Monday, May 20, 2024 | 1:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Session 2: Monday, June 3, 2024 | 1:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Session Three: Monday, June 17, 2024 | 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Team Expectations

  • At least one team member is expected to attend all program events.
  • A two person team, including an Academic Lead (faculty member) and Entrepreneurial Lead (student or staff member) with relevant knowledge of the research. Each team will be made of at least one Academic Lead and Entrepreneurial Lead. We welcome teams with multiple Entrepreneurial leads. CEI will assist in team formation if needed.
  • STEM-based research that has produced substantive data. This may include, but is not limited to, proposed ventures related to physical sciences, life sciences, software, informatics, energy, educational technology, nursing and architecture.
  • Teams are expected to commit to engaging in market research, customer discovery and other commercialization-focused activities outside of class.
  • Teams should complete at least 20 customer interviews by the end of the program.
  • Teams will be required to participate in at least six weeks of entrepreneurial seminars and programming (1.5 hours weekly).
  • Teams must complete pre- and post- surveys for the program.

Consideration for I-Corps programming is welcome to all applicants, from all backgrounds. Some programs are exclusively for participants coming from specific partner institutions.


Teams will be expected to make a commercial viability decision at the end of the program. Successful completion makes teams eligible to compete for additional NSF opportunities including the $50,000 NSF I-Corps Team program. The commercialization insights developed will enable teams to create compelling applications for multiple funding opportunities, such as:

  • $50K NSF I-Corps Team
  • $250K NSF PFI: Air TT
  • $256K NSF SBIR/STTR Phase I
  • $1M NSF SBIR/STTR Phase II
  • $500K NSF SBIR/STTR Phase IIB
  • $50K+ Charlotte Venture Challenge and Pitch Day
  • $50K NC IDEA Seed Grant
  • $10K NC IDEA Micro Grant
  • $50K Venturewell Student e-team Program