Syracuse University Joins Consortium in NSF I-Corps Hub’s $15M STEM Innovation Program

Syracuse University has joined nine other colleges in the newly awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps): Interior Northeast Region Hub (IN I-Corps), a $15 million, five-year investment by the NSF that is designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in STEM programs in rural, economically underserved regions.

The grant captures activities taking place across the Syracuse University campus, including at the College of Law’s Innovation Law Center; the College of Engineering and Computer Science and its Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering; and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, and the Blackstone LaunchPad at SU Libraries.

The broad project scope will be to:

  • Recruit new teams for I-Corps training
  • Provide l-Corps Training and mentoring
  • Provide information for evaluation of the Hubs
  • Work with the Hub to develop and implement plans to broaden participation in I-Corps

Syracuse University (SU) is a leader in entrepreneurship research, which will be the primary focus for the Hub. Dr. Todd Moss, department chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises at the Whitman School for Business will be the Hub’s Research Lead. With support from faculty colleagues, Dr. Moss will conduct research on behalf of the Hub in entrepreneurship particularly as it relates to translational ventures and broadening participation. Dr. Moss and colleagues will identify specific research projects as relate to encouraging and supporting DTVs and an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem. Specific topics already identified by the research team include: the intersection of entrepreneurship and sustainability, entrepreneurial decision-making, venture financing of high growth ventures, and inclusion of women and minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The LaunchPad will partner with outreach and programming, particularly with graduate students engaged in technology commercialization, with a particular focus on underrepresented populations. The LaunchPad serves students from across all academic disciplines with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The LaunchPad was included in the partnership because of its inclusive programming and history working with the I-Corps program at Syracuse University. Over the past several years the LaunchPad co-hosted the I-Corps program with the Syracuse University Innovation Law Center and the Office of Technology Transfer, with I-Corps programming held in Bird Libraries.

SU is also a leader in regional entrepreneurship programming. Its heralded Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans became a nucleus for what has become the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans & Military Families. This program sits alongside numerous other startup and entrepreneurship support programs that leverage I-Corps and customer discovery curriculum, practices, and principles. SU has hosted a number of regional I-Corps courses in collaboration with the UNY I-Corps Node, and has one trained I-Corps regional instructor. In addition, the Office of Technology Transfer at Syracuse works closely with faculty, researchers, students, and staff to manage and promote the University’s intellectual property.

Drawing from these resources, each year Syracuse University will recruit 8 to 20 teams to participate in the one to three regional courses it will host. From those courses, they will recruit and support one to two National I-Corps Teams program teams. The university will also identify and recruit two instructors and identify and recruit one to two industry mentors to support national program teams, recommended by the Hub.

Syracuse University will connect regional partner schools SUNY ESF, Upstate Medical, LeMoyne College, and the Central New York business incubation ecosystem, including the CNY Biotech Incubator, the Tech Garden, and its NYS-funded Genius-NY startup prize competition.

The NSF award is providing the funding to a consortium of ten academic institutions for the implementation and execution of the IN I-Corps Hub program. The program aims to expand the nation’s geography of innovation by creating a cohesive innovation ecosystem that delivers inclusive models of education and workforce training designed for and by innovators in rural regions and small cities. The region that includes Syracuse University stretches from New Hampshire to West Virginia and represents large portions of the U.S. that are largely rural, economically underserved and working to restore economic vitality.

Read the full article in SU News here.