University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

NSF I-Corps Summer Program

The STEAM Training in Entrepreneurial Practices (STEP) I-Corps Site funds faculty and student innovators to vet the promise of new technologies during an intensive summer or semester-long training program. Note: We are monitoring conditions related to COVID-19 and will adapt this program to university, state and national policies as they are developed. Applications are now closed for the Fall 2020 cohort.

NSF Icorps


Program Goals

The University of Arkansas I-Corps Site, STEP (STEAM Training in Entrepreneurial Practices), builds on existing programs that accelerate the commercialization of research by faculty and students.

A primary goal of this program is to encourage researchers to consider how the commercialization of their research might open new avenues of discovery and promote economic development in the state. The program is also open to students interested in learning how to evaluate healthcare or technology-based business ideas. 

Applications for the Fall 2020 cohort are now closed; applications will re-open in Spring 2021.

Participant Guide

The program for participating teams can be downloaded here.

For more information, please email


The STEP site will include undergraduate and graduate student teams and faculty from four Arkansas campuses: the University of Arkansas (UA), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Arkansas State University (ASU), and the University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR). Teams will receive funding of up to $1,000 to support their initial customer discovery efforts during the program and an additional $2,250 if their team continues to pursue the commercialization of their technology/research. All accessible funds must be spent by December 31, 2020.

All faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates whose research holds commercial potential are encouraged to apply; the program is also open to business and humanities students who have an interest in technology commercialization. 

Program Summary [REVISED 4/3/20 DUE TO COVID-19]

3/10/2020 Applications open
7/20/2020 Application deadline
7/27/2020 Notification of acceptance
8/14/2020-8/15/2020 Opening workshop
12/05/2020 Closing workshop

All workshops will be held online due to COVID-19, but teams may apply for Level 2 membership to the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, where they may work independently and hold in-person meetings, following social distancing and mask requirements.

I-Corps History

The I-Corps program was created by the NSF in 2011 to help faculty and students in the sciences learn how to apply lean startup methods for bringing new technologies to the marketplace. With funding provided by the program and the support and mentorship provided by the site, researchers and students will conduct market research, learn to identify product-market fit through interviews with potential customers, and develop prototypes.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1735717.

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