What is I-Corps?

NSF I-Corps is an experiential training program offered to CSU faculty, graduate students, and post-docs interested in translating scientific research into startups. By participating in a handful of virtual workshops, developing an initial business hypothesis, and conducting a few dozen customer discovery interviews, scientists and engineers learn to develop, test, and fine-tune their startup idea.  The program is funded by the National Science Foundation and CSU is one of several universities participating in the I-Corps Hub West.

Why do I-Corps?

  • Reduce risk of your startup idea prior to forming a company
  • Double your odds of securing NSF & other federal funding in certain applied research programs
  • Better understand research opportunities in specific industries
  • Develop deeper relationships with industries while acquiring valuable business networking skills

Regional Training

The first phase of training consists of  three virtual workshops over a 3 week period and participants are expected to conduct approximately 10 customer discovery interviews and begin developing their startup idea.  Three training programs are available to choose from: 

There are two options for training in the second phase of the program. Research-to-Market (R2M) or USC BOOM training programs are a deeper dive into customer discovery and help participants identify beachhead markets, channel and ecosystem partners, competitors, and influencers in their target industry. In these programs, industry mentors are provided to teams.

High-performing regional teams are eligible to receive $50k to participate in the prestigious, 7-week, 100 interview NSF I-Corps National Teams program.


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To learn more about NSF hubs and partners, visit the I-Corps National Website.