I-Corps Sites image of studentsGeorgia Tech’s I-Corps Sites program is a part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program, which helps university-based research teams turn their innovations into spinout companies. Our Sites program provides research teams course instruction on an established commercialization approach that has a strong track record of success. This education is coupled with funds for teams to conduct initial customer discovery interviews to determine desirability, and access to follow-on grants and education from additional NSF programs.


The NSF I-Corps Sites program is open to Georgia Tech students, faculty, researchers and staff at the Institute who are considering the commercial impact of their STEM-related technology. Topics for I-Corps Sites projects originate from research — both sponsored and unsponsored. If you are unsure if your project is eligible to participate, please contact melissa.heffner@venturelab.gatech.edu.


The Sites program provides a methodology supported by advice, resources, networking opportunities, coaching and modest funding to enable nascent commercialization teams to do early customer evaluation (20 to 30 one-on-one interviews) in preparation for the national NSF I-Corps Teams program.


Upon the successful completion of I-Corps Sites, participants may be recommended to apply to the national NSF I-Corps Teams program. Acceptance into the I-Corps Teams program includes an intensive six-week customer discovery bootcamp, along with a $50,000 grant to be used for additional customer discovery activity.


I-Corps Sites applications are received and reviewed on a rolling basis.


Accepted teams will receive 3 to 4 hours of instruction (delivered over several weeks) in the I-Corps methodology (e.g. lean startup, evidence-based entrepreneurship, customer discovery). All instruction will take place in a virtual setting until future notice.


Accepted teams will receive up to $3000.00 to conduct preliminary interviews (20 to 30) with customers. Funding may be used for the following:

  1. Fees associated with attending industry-specific tradeshows and conferences, either virtually or in-person. (Fees may include registration costs, airfare, ground transportation, hotel, etc.)
  2. Upgrading professional networking platform subscriptions, such as LinkedIn Premium, video conferencing platforms, etc.
  3. Traveling to visit potential customers for one-on-one interviews. (Please follow the guidance of the Institute and the CDC when deciding whether to travel.)
  4. Purchasing resource books, such as Business Model Generation or Value Proposition Design.
  5. With prior approval, funds may occasionally be used for minimal prototyping costs.

What funding may not be used for:

  1. Paying a salary or stipend to any member of the team.
  2. Providing gift cards or other incentives to interviewed customers.
  3. Attending tradeshows or conferences that are not industry-specific to your project.
  4. Purchasing electronic equipment.
  5. Cost associated with conducting surveys.

If you have questions about allowed expenses, please email melissa.heffner@venturelab.gatech.edu.

Program Details

The I-Corps Sites program can take teams anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months to complete, as teams progress at their own pace. To recap, here are the steps involved.

  • Prepare a line-item budget. Budgets should be as close to exact costs as possible.
  • Submit an application and the budget.
  • Application and budget approved by the I-Corps Sites staff.
  • Complete the 3-4 hours of instruction.
  • Complete 20-30 interviews with customers.
  • Work with Sites program manager to determine next steps.

How to Apply

Complete the form below to apply. We will review your application and respond within a week or so. There is no application deadline, and acceptance into the program is on a rolling basis.

Contact Webform
The Sites program requires participating teams to talk with 20-30 potential customers. Who might you talk with, and what are you hoping to learn from these customer conversations? 
Provide a line-item budget for your trip, with each line showing an expense category (airfare, hotel, ground transportation, etc.) and an estimated amount. Do not forget per diem. Budget cannot exceed $3000.00. Note: If approved, your grant will be funded for the amount provided.
Please provide your GT department Cost Center number (Typically a 6-7 digit number: For example, CC012345.) Contact your accounting department for access to your Cost Center number: the Cost Center number must be provided prior to the release of any funding.


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