At its new I-Corps Site, led by Professor Matthew Lynall, Purdue University is proving that the only way forward is together. In the last four years, collaborative work with the National Science Foundation, other state institutions and external local and national commercial stakeholders and communities has led to the creation of over 100 new scientific entrepreneurial start-ups. The innovation pipeline at Purdue is thriving in this culture of collaboration.
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) mission statement is ‘to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense’. In recent years, they have been fulfilling this mission with their innovative and collaborative Innovation Corps (I-Corps) programme. The programme was set up with a view to allow scientists and engineers to extend their horizons beyond the academic and the laboratory. By helping faculty realise the commercial potential of their research, the programme accelerates the economic and societal benefits of projects that are on the cusp of making it to market. Through training in customer discovery, and with guidance from more experienced entrepreneurs, grantees are able to identify product opportunities that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Key to the success of I-Corps is for researchers to “get out of the building” to directly engage with potential customers and other stakeholders to ensure that there is indeed a significant problem or need for which their technology can provide a robust solution.
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