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Innovation Corps at the University of Tennessee

The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) was created in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in an effort to support technology researchers as they move innovation beyond the lab and into the marketplace.

The I-Corps South Node supports regional education, infrastructure and research around innovation. UT is part of the I-Corps South Node, along with the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama at Birmingham. Together, the Node offers education and other support to introduce the regional research community to the national I-Corps Program.

The Fall Regional Cohort will be held Oct. 3, 10 and 17, 2019 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Joint Institute for Advanced Materials.

Forming a Team

I-Corps attendees must be comprised of two to four members with an entrepreneurial lead, academic lead and mentor.

Entrepreneurial Lead: often a postdoc, graduate student or advanced undergraduate student who has the desire to start a company based on their research. This person will be the team’s spokesperson and will act as the company’s CEO.
Academic Lead: typically a full-time faculty or staff member at the university.
Mentor: industry professional or has a person with a business background who provides candid feedback regarding the team’s business concepts.


UT I-Corps participants receive access to multiple benefits to assist the launch of their innovations.

  • Introduction to the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (ACEI) programs, including multiple established business plan competitions and the Business Accelerator
  • Knowledgable instructors with hands-on experience in technology commercialization
  • Exposure to a broad and diverse entrepreneurial network


NSF grantees including students, faculty and entrepreneurs, are eligible to participate in the I-Corps program.

Teams can apply online through September 15, 2019 for the fall regional. For questions about UT’s participation in the I-Corps South Node, contact Shawn Carson.

Program Sponsors

UT I-Corps South is a program of the Management Department at the Haslam College of Business and co-sponsored by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and University of Tennessee Research Foundation.