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. 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



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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.

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 

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 Delta I-Fund, and accelerator programs such as the InnovatAR Life Sciences Accelerator supported by UAMS.


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