University of Tennessee

Applications Open for NSF I-Corps Spring Super Regional at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

February 11, 2022

Applications are open for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) spring 2022 Super Regional workshop series, to be held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Mapp Building, Second Floor, 410 E. 8th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403. The three-week customer-discovery program kicks off on Monday, March 28, and concludes on Wednesday, April 20.

Teams of two to four people can apply for the opportunity to participate in the Spring Super Regional workshop series. Potential applicants located in the southeastern United States with an interest in commercializing technical innovations are invited to attend. University-based and National Laboratory teams, as well as non-institutional teams, are welcome. Total registrations will be limited to 20 teams.

The program is part of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s participation in the I-Corps South Node, one of eight regional networks developed to support innovation education, infrastructure and research. The workshops are designed by I-Corps South to help individuals interested in commercializing technology-based ideas to build a business model that addresses customers’ needs. 

“I-Corps is a great introduction for teams to the national NSF I-Corps program and the resources that are available at UT to support them through the commercialization process,” said Shawn Carson, Regional Node Director at UT Knoxville. “This year we are partnering with UT Chattanooga. This is a great location at a fine university in a nice city.”  

Also partnered with UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga is I-Corps South, headquartered at Venture Labs at Georgia Tech.  

“We have a long-standing working relationship and have enjoyed great support from our friends at I-Corps South,” said Carson.

The series curriculum will cover the customer discovery process, developing a value proposition and creating a business thesis. Teams will conduct a series of interviews with prospective customers to identify their needs and meet with mentors from the instructional team during virtual office hours. Participants will reconvene at the closing meeting to share what they have learned.

“I-Corps can open many doors and get participants started down the right path to opening a business or commercializing a technology,” said Maha Krishnamurthy, vice president of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF). “We encourage students, faculty and entrepreneurs to learn more about I-Corps and see how its programming can help them understand the value proposition and societal benefits of their innovations.”

The NSF I-Corps program was established in 2011 to help scientists and engineers think beyond the laboratory and identify opportunities for translating research into commercial products that can benefit society. Hundreds of teams from across the country have participated in the national program, spending six to seven weeks interviewing customers and businesses to answer the question: what do our customers need and does it align with our research?

UT Knoxville is a partner in I-Corps South, whose members include Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

UT Knoxville I-Corps South is a program of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship in UT Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business and is co-sponsored by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) and the UTRF.

Interested applicants should email Shawn Carson directly at scarson2@utk.edu.

About ACEI 

ACEI is a university-based resource for entrepreneurship across the region and the state of Tennessee. Its mission is to foster an entrepreneurial culture at UT and across the state by developing student skills, providing experiential learning opportunities, conducting meaningful entrepreneurial research and connecting students with mentors and resources that enable them to successfully start and grow new businesses.

About UTRF 

UTRF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes the commercialization of UT intellectual property, encourages an entrepreneurial culture, contributes to state and regional economic development and promotes research and education to benefit the people of Tennessee and beyond. UTRF provides assistance and resources to the research activities of faculty, staff and students of UT and works to help move ideas to the marketplace.

About the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was established in 2018 to engage, equip and encourage UT Chattanooga’s innovators and entrepreneurs. The CIE supports the entire campus community through cross-campus programming and initiatives, addressing UT Chattanooga’s strategic goal to “inspire, nurture and empower scholarship, creativity, discovery, innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives.” The CIE is in Chattanooga’s Innovation District in the southwest corner of the UT Chattanooga campus and occupies 5,700 square feet in the James R. Mapp Building. The space includes collaboration and classroom spaces as well as the largest makerspace on campus.

UT Chattanooga’s vice chancellor for research, Joanne Romagni, supports and promotes scholarship, discovery and innovation across all academic disciplines. Understanding that research and entrepreneurship are synergistic, Romagni encourages commercialization to broaden the benefits and extend the impact of research and innovation through new ventures and new applications that enrich our communities.   

About the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Haslam College of Business

The Department of Management and Entrepreneurship is dedicated to providing high-quality education in the management discipline through a creative balance of academic, professional and extracurricular programs. Through mutually beneficial partnerships with alumni, industry and local, state and federal governments, the department also provides public service assistance and collaborative research and scholarship, which contribute to the nation’s knowledge base in the management discipline.

CONTACT:

Shawn Carson, UT I-Corps program coordinator, Haslam College of Business, scarson2@utk.edu