The National Science Foundation screened applicants for this Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program and awarded each research team $50,000. They’ll be mentored by entrepreneurs familiar with bringing a new technology to market, and participate in ongoing webinars and progress meetings throughout the process.
Each of the 21 teams has its own project — things like terahertz electronics, new technology for detecting explosives, or a smarter device for delivering pain medication.
The National Science Foundation has a history of funding basic research, but its efforts to get cutting edge technology out of the lab and into the market have been relatively modest.
“What do you do if you want to get more startups, more technology transferred out of the university?” asks Jacob Schmidt, a researcher at UCLA who’s taking the class. “You need to bootstrap. You need to start that culture up from scratch.”
Schmidt says that hopefully the program will train a bunch of scientists and engineers to think like entrepreneurs, who will then go back to their labs and spread the word to others.