The grant will establish Shocker Innovation Corps, a program that will nurture and support entrepreneurial teams interested in accelerating research outcomes and product commercialization. It will fund up to 30 Shocker Innovation Corps teams per year for three years.
“We are always looking for ways to engage students in technology and innovation, and this is the perfect opportunity,” said John Tomblin, WSU vice president for research and technology transfer. “Finding funding can be a challenge, and we hope this will remove that barrier for some students.”
Students interested in assembling a Shocker Innovation Corps team to research commercialization feasibility of their technology and to secure funding for customer validation and prototype development can complete an application form at http://wsuventures.org/funding-opportunities/icorps.
Student participants from the Shocker New Venture Competition, STEM Capstone Projects, graduate research projects and other faculty-recommended projects are encouraged to apply to access seed funding of up to $2,150, which can be used for materials and supplies; prototyping or proof-of-concept; meetings, conferences, tradeshows and training; transportation; and travel costs.
The goal of the program is to empower and strategically equip entrepreneurial students, faculty and researchers to accelerate their ideas, research, processes and products into market-driven commercial applications, profitable enterprises and start-up companies.
The program will include training sessions aimed at team-based customer discovery research, provided by the WSU Center for Entrepreneurship’s new e-Launch program. Teams will investigate the commercial viability of their technology-based project, assess risks and develop agile, evidence-based strategies for technology transfer. Teams will further develop their technology to make a well-informed decision about the commercial viability of their project within six months.
This designation gives Wichita State Shocker Innovation Corps Teams access to the NSF I-Corps Team commercialization accelerator program, which is typically limited to researchers who have received a previous NSF award for basic research.
Shocker Innovation Corps teams should consist of one or more students, an academic advisor and business mentor.
Through this funding (award no. 1547817), Wichita State is designated as an official NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) site. I-Corps is a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects. For more information about the NSF I-Corps program, go to http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/.