Program Description

CUNY I-Corps is a National Science Foundation designated site designed to transform scientific and engineering discoveries in university labs into successful commercial ventures. Over the course of the program, I-Corps seeks to train academic researchers to become entrepreneurs.

Each I-Corps team consists of three members: The Entrepreneurial Lead, the Technical Lead, and Industry Mentor.

The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) can be a postdoctoral scholar, graduate, undergraduate or other student with relevant knowledge of the proposed technology and a deep commitment to investigating the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. The Entrepreneurial Lead should also be both willing and able to support the transition of the technology, should the I-Corps project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability.

The Technical Lead (TL) will typically be a faculty member, senior research scientist or postdoctoral scholar with deep and direct technical expertise in the actual core technology about which the I-Corps team is exploring commercial potential.

The Industry Mentor (IM) will typically be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur who operates in proximity to the institution and is experienced in transitioning technology out of academic labs. The Industry Mentor may be recommended by the proposing institution or may be a member of the NSF-supported I-Corps Mentors network. The Industry Mentor will be responsible for guiding the team forward and reporting on its progress through regular communication with the cognizant NSF I-Corps Program Director.

Please visit our About page to learn about the Business Model Canvas and the I-Corps curriculum.

Program Benefits

  • Concentrated time to focus on commercialization activities
  • Build relationships with experienced entrepreneurs and teachers who can help you bring your product to market
  • Identify commercial potential for your technology to increase probability of grant success and/or raising venture capital
  • Develop entrepreneurship skills and learn about business model development.
  • Engage in the customer discovery process by spending time outside the lab and talking to customers, partners and competitors.

CUNY I-Corps Short Course Program Dates

Upcoming Cohort Dates:

Winter 2019

  • Kickoff: January 8 and 11, 2019
  • 1 Online Classes via Web-Ex: Wednesday, January 16, 1 – 4 PM
  • Finale: January 23, 2019

Previous Cohort Dates:

Summer 2018

  • Kickoff: July 17 and July 19, 2018
  • 1 Online Classes via Web-Ex: Tuesday – July 24, 2018
  • Finale: July 31, 2018

Spring 2018

  • Kickoff: April 10 and April 12, 2018
  • 2 Online Classes via Web-Ex: Tuesdays – April 17 and April 24, 2018
  • Finale: May 1, 2018

Info Sessions

Want to host an info session on your campus? Contact to request a date and time!

Program Eligibility

  • All teams must have, at a minimum, an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) and Technical Lead (TL) who is a CUNY student, CUNY alumni, CUNY faculty member, or CUNY staff member.
  • Your technology should be within a STEM-related industry that has potential commercialization ability and is scalable.
  • The technology can be funded by any government agency but must be disclosed to the CUNY Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

Commitment Level

By participating in CUNY I-Corps, you should expect a commitment of at least 10-15 hours a week of coursework (which includes weekly in-person classes and outside assignments) while also fulfilling other program requirements. All team members are expected to attend in-person events and virtual classes.

Funding and Support

All CUNY I-Corps programs are free to participate in. In addition, accepted CUNY I-Corps Teams are eligible to request up to $3,000 in reimbursements for customer discovery related costs, such as attending conferences, tradeshows, local travel, and more.