The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced that five new NSF Innovation (I-Corps™) Hubs would be launched, ushering in an era of expansion for the NSF-led National Innovation Network with Jackson State University (JSU) being named as one of the key institutions to be funded within the Mid-South region.
As part of the initiative, each I-Corps Hub is funded for up to $3 million per year for five years, with JSU slated to receive $1 million in monetary support.
“JSU has had an NSF I-Corps Site since 2016 and has trained over 300 faculty and students. We have leveraged this program to foster partnerships with other institutions and build innovative programs to meet the needs of HBCUs,” says Almesha Campbell, Ph.D., assistant vice president of research and economic development at JSU. “The opportunity to partner with Vanderbilt University and others in the MidSouth I-Corps Hub will help build upon our efforts to translate emerging technologies from the lab to the market, foster university-industry collaborations, and train our faculty and students to become innovators and entrepreneurs.”
I-Corps Hubs provide experiential entrepreneurial training to academic researchers across all fields of science and engineering. I-Corps Hubs form the operational backbone of the National Innovation Network — a network of universities, NSF-funded researchers, local and regional entrepreneurial communities, and other federal agencies — that help researchers translate fundamental research results to the marketplace. The I-Corps Hubs work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem throughout the U.S.
Mid-South Innovation Corps Hub will be represented by a group of nine universities that make up a regional coalition of diverse, tech-forward institutions to promote inclusive innovation, spur economic development and prosperity and transform Mid-South metro areas into growth and commercialization centers for STEM-related technologies.
“I am delighted the I-Corps Hubs that we are awarding will expand the footprint of the National Innovation Network, harnessing the innovation potential that exists all across the country by establishing clear pathways for researchers to engage with NSF’s lab-to-market platform,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for technology, innovation and partnerships. “Each regional I-Corps Hub provides training essential in entrepreneurship and customer discovery, leading to new products, startups and jobs. In this way, the I-Corps program will open up new economic opportunities throughout the United States.”
Established in 2011, the I-Corps program is designed to support the commercialization of deep technologies, which grow from discoveries in fundamental science and engineering. Since its inception, more than 1,900 NSF I-Corps teams have participated in the program. This year’s five newly funded I-Corps Hubs will join the five hubs funded last year to serve national needs through the following areas of responsibility:
● Create and implement tools, resources and training activities that enhance the nation’s innovation capacity
● Identify, develop and support promising research that can generate economic value
● Gather, analyze, evaluate and utilize the data and insights resulting from the experiences of those participating in local, regional and national I-Corps programs
● Provide opportunities to diverse communities of innovators
● Share and leverage effective innovation practices on a national scale to improve the quality of life throughout the nation
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