In 2012, the National Science Foundation (NSF) took ambitious steps to revisit how they invest in academic innovation and entrepreneurship. Rather than increasing financial investments in technology development, it created NSF I-Corps™, an innovation education program and nationwide innovation network for NSF-funded faculty and trainees. Since its launch, NSF I-Corps has trained over 3,000 researchers and has been adopted by nine federal agencies. This paper provides a brief history of government investment in academic innovation, including the conceptualization of the I-Corps program, as well as its goals, growth, and influence on other agencies. The primary data for the paper includes interviews from 13 key individuals involved in the launch of the program and publicly available program data. We conclude with a discussion of challenges and opportunities as I-Corps-related programs look to scale and sustain their efforts going forward. This paper offers government, university administrators, and faculty insight into alternative methods of promoting academic innovation and explores future research areas for entrepreneurial ecosystems and education.
Nnakwe, C. C., Cooch, N., & Huang-Saad, A. (2018). INVESTING IN ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: MOVING BEYOND RESEARCH FUNDING THROUGH THE NSF I-CORPS™ PROGRAM. Technology and Innovation, 19(4), 773-786. doi:https://doi.org/10.21300/19.4.2018.773