UAB's I-Corps Site Program

i Corps Logo GRNUAB’s I-Corps Site program is part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program, which helps university-based academic teams translate research innovations into real-world impact. Our UAB Site program provides research teams course instruction on an established innovation 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 and NIH programs.

Who can apply to the UAB's I-Corps Site Program?

The UAB I-Corps Site program is open to all UAB students, faculty, researchers and staff who are considering the dissemination, implementation and commercialization pathway for a research solution. Topics for I-Corps Site projects originate from research — both sponsored and unsponsored. If you are unsure if your project is eligible to participate, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What does the program provide?

The UAB I-Corps Site program provides a methodology supported by advice, resources, networking opportunities, coaching and modest funding to enable nascent innovation teams to do early customer/market evaluation (20 to 30 one-on-one interviews). Typically, innovation teams identify a professional meeting/conference related to their research idea and use I-Corps Site funding for conference fees and travel support. By targeting professional meetings/conferences, innovation teams engage in an intense, immersive experience to learn more about potential customers and how to validate problem-solution fit with new innovations.

Possible outcome of completing the program

Upon the successful completion of UAB’s I-Corps Site program, participants may be recommended to apply to the national NSF I-Corps Teams program. Acceptance into the I-Corps Teams program includes an intensive seven-week customer discovery bootcamp, along with a $50,000 grant to be used for additional customer discovery activity. Teams will also learn more about additional innovation resources, such as the SBIR-STTR programs, to support research startups.

When is the program offered?

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

Training and delivery method

Accepted teams will receive 8 hours of instruction (delivered over several weeks) in the I-Corps methodology (e.g. lean startup, evidence-based entrepreneurship, customer discovery). Instruction is flexible based on the needs of the innovation team and could include a mix of face to face and virtual sessions. Instruction includes three sessions: 1) orientation/introduction to lean startup and the business model canvas, 2) customer discovery preparation and best practices, and 3) post-discovery final presentation and next steps.

Funding for participants

Accepted teams will receive up to $2500.00 to conduct preliminary interviews (20 to 30) with customers. Funding may be used for the following:

  • Fees associated with attending industry-specific tradeshows and conferences, either virtually or in-person. (Fees may include registration costs, airfare, ground transportation, hotel, etc.)
  • Upgrading professional networking platform subscriptions, such as LinkedIn Premium, video conferencing platforms, etc.
  • Traveling to visit potential customers for one-on-one interviews.
  • Purchasing resource books, such as Business Model Generation or Value Proposition Design.
  • With prior approval, funds may occasionally be used for minimal prototyping costs.

What funding may not be used for:

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

If you have questions about allowed expenses, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Program details

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

  • 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 Site staff.
  • Complete the 8 hours of instruction.
  • Complete 20-30 interviews with customers.
  • Work with Site program manager to determine next steps.

How to apply

Register Now

There is no application deadline, and acceptance into the program is on a rolling basis.