National Science Foundation I-Corps

National Science Foundation I-Corps

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. 

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 Summer 2023 cohort are now closed.

For more information, please email


The STEP site accepts undergraduate, graduate, faculty and/or staff teams from any higher education or research institution in the state of Arkansas. Teams will receive funding of up to $3,250 to support their customer discovery and prototyping efforts. All accessible funds must be spent by December 31, 2023.


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 

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.




Teams will be encouraged to take advantage of the growing Arkansas entrepreneurial ecosystem, which includes resources such as the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub at the University of Arkansas, statewide grant programs such as the I-Fund at Winrock International, and accelerator programs such as HealthTech Arkansas.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1735717. The PI on this grant is Dr. Ed Pohl, and the Co-PIs are Dr. Bob Beitle, Dr. Cynthia Sides, and Sarah Goforth.