SFI/NSF I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme 2016

Science Foundation Ireland has partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a collaborative framework called I-Corps@SFI to allow participation of SFI-funded researchers in the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Programme.

The SFI/NSF I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme is intended to support SFI funded researchers to develop entrepreneurial skills that will enable them to realise new opportunities for their research that will, in turn, lead to economic and societal impact. The programme will run on a pilot basis and is open to applications from researchers currently working in or associated with an SFI Research Centre. The programme will support the participation of SFI teams in the NSF I-Corps Curriculum which is an immersive entrepreneurial training programme built on a special, accelerated version of Stanford University's Lean LaunchPad course developed by Steve Blank.

Entrepreneurial training

The SFI/NSF I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme comprises an intensive 3-day bootcamp undertaken at an NSF I-Corps affiliated location in the United States, followed by an immersive 6-week period of opportunity discovery/validation, during which teams are mentored by NSF I-Corps trainers. Participants will be based at their Host Research Bodies for the duration of this 6-week period but will be able to use their award to undertake opportunity discovery activities that require them to travel. During this period, teams must commit to participate in on-line webinars where they will engage with NSF mentors and other programme participants. At the end of the 6-week mentored period, the formal training component of the programme is completed by attendance at a 2-day “lessons learned” workshop at an I-Corps affiliated location in the United States.

Objectives of the programme

  • To train researchers in evidence-based entrepreneurship
  • To support the development of validated business models and commercialisation strategies for research with commercial potential
  • To support the formation of spin-outs and start-ups
  • To support researchers in identifying economic and societal impact opportunities for their research

Programme eligibility

Proposals will be accepted from SFI award holders currently associated with an SFI Research Centre (either as PI, Co-PI (including Spoke Leader), FI, or an Academic Collaborator who themselves hold an active SFI award or have held an SFI award in the last 5 years (2011 – 2016). Under the programme, proposals must identify a participating team comprising:

  • Principal Investigator (PI): It is expected that the PI will provide technical leadership and oversee project management.
  • Entrepreneurial Lead (EL): The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) will be a post-doctoral researcher who currently work under the supervision of the PI or who may wish to work with the PI as part of the programme. The EL is expected to have the necessary technical expertise relating to the proposed technology along with the motivation to lead the opportunity discovery/validation activities of the team during the programme and progress the commercialisation of the technology following completion of the programme.
  • Entrepreneurial Mentor (EM): The Entrepreneurial Mentor (EM) is expected to bring entrepreneurial/industry experience to the team and will serve as the principal guide to the EL in determining the technology disposition. Ideally, the EM would be willing to continue their engagement with the EL and PI following completion of the programme.

Programme remit

The remit of the SFI/NSF I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme includes the 14 NRP areas or any other area under SFI’s legal remit where strong evidence can be provided of significant industrial relevance and strong economic impact. In addition, the applicant is required to complete a brief statement justifying how the proposed research aligns with SFI’s legal remit. This statement will be used to determine the eligibility of the application.


Duration: 6 months

Award Size: €35,000

Key Dates

Call Launch - 18th July 2016

Webinar - 5th August 2016, 14:00 Dublin Local Time

EoI Submission Deadline - 4th November 2016, 13:00 Dublin Local Time

Full Proposal Submission Deadline - 16th December 2016, 13:00 Dublin Local Time


Full details on the proposal and submission requirements may be found in the proposal call. Please read the documentation carefully in advance of queries and submission.

SFI reserves the right to make amendments to the documents if required. Please ensure that you are referring to the most recent version of the call document and FAQs. Research Offices will be contacted in the event of any updates to the call documentation.


Science Foundation Ireland held a webinar on Friday 5th August to outline the details of the SFI/NSF I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme 2016. View the webinar and the webinar slides.

System requirements for webinar

PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

Programme-related Queries

For programme-related queries please contact i-corps@sfi.ie