MISSOULA – The University of Montana now is accepting applications for research and innovative ideas with the potential to impact the world for its first STEM cohort in a new program.
UM gained Innovation-Corps Site (I-Corps) site status from the National Science Foundation in October 2018 and is now part of a nationwide program to create a science, technology, engineering and math ecosystem to successfully commercialize research. UM’s I-Corps Site is affiliated with the I-Corps Node at the University of California, Berkeley.
Researchers and innovators in STEM fields are strongly encouraged to contact the program to explore the potential for broader impacts and commercialization of their research or inventions.
“The I-Corps program is a tremendous opportunity for researchers and innovators at UM and across Montana to receive guidance and support to explore their STEM ideas,” said Paul Gladen, director of the Blackstone LaunchPad and one of the principal investigators for the grant. “We’re excited to help grow the impact of STEM research and expertise in Montana and beyond.”
The five-week program provides training and coaching to help accepted teams perform outreach toward target users and markets to gain an understanding of their potential impact and value. All training and one-on-one assistance is free of charge, and teams may receive grants of up to $2,500 to assist with their market research.
Teams completing the program and gaining promising indications of commercial potential may be invited to apply for regional and national NSF I-Corps programs, in which more customer research and training, along with up to $50,000 in funding, are provided to further the commercialization effort.
The program will be offered up to four times in 2019, with the first cohort beginning Feb. 25. All University faculty, staff and students are eligible to apply, as well as researchers and innovators from across Montana.
Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis for the first and future cohorts at https://www.umt.edu/launchpad/icorps/.
Other principal investigators and NSF I-Corps team members from UM are Scott Mills, associate vice president of research; Jakki Mohr, Regents Professor of Marketing in the College of Business; Monica Serban, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Travis Wheeler, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science; Phill Guay, consultant; and Dylan Berget, a UM law and Master of Business Administration student.