The NSF has launched the Innovation Corps, a “program to take the most promising research projects in American university laboratories and turn them into startups.”
Startup guru Steve Blank calls it a new era for scientists and engineers. Read his recent post about I-Corps here. Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt:
From the point of view of scientists and engineers in a university lab, too often entrepreneurship in all its VC-driven glory – income statements, balance sheets, business plans, revenue models, 5-year forecasts, etc. – seems like another planet. There didn’t seem to be much in common between the Scientific Method and starting a company. And this has been a barrier to commercializing the best of our science research.
Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) – the $6.8-billion U.S. government agency that supports research in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering - is changing the startup landscape for scientists and engineers. The NSF has announced the Innovation Corps – a program to take the most promising research projects in American university laboratories and turn them into startups. It will train them with a process that embraces experimentation, learning, and discovery.
To commercialize these university innovations NSF will be putting the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) teams through a class that teaches scientists and engineers to treat starting a company as another research project that can be solved by an iterative process of hypotheses testing and experimentation. The class will be a version of the Lean LaunchPad class we developed in the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, (the entrepreneurship center at Stanford’s School of Engineering).