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About the Vanderbilt I-Corps Site Program


Have a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) related idea? Have a piece of technology you’ve developed in the lab that you think might have commercial application? Looking for funding or mentorship?

Then you’re at the right place! 

The Vanderbilt I-Corps Site Program is open to the entire Vanderbilt community of Students, Faculty, and Staff from across any school or academic discipline. Through a partnership between Vanderbilt University’s the Wond’ry, Institute for Surgery and Engineering (VISE), and National Science Foundation (NSF), we are launching, for the first time ever, an I-Corps Site on Vanderbilt’s campus dedicated to helping you bring your STEM idea to life.

Through this program we will provide non-dilutive funding of $2,300 and a pathway for further mentorship and guidance through the National I-Corps program where teams receive an additional $50,000 funding. Moreover, this program enables you to receive NSF lineage and greatly improve your chances to receive future SBIR and STTR grant funding.

Most importantly, this program is designed to help you identify product opportunities and potential customers all while exploring valid models you could use to broaden the impact of your work.

After applying via the link below, there are 4 pathways to participate in the Vanderbilt I-Corps Site Program:

  1. Participate in the Wond’ry’s Ideator program. This is a 5-week extra-curricular course that meets virtually through the Wond’ry. This program runs every fall and spring and the application typically opens the first week of each semester.
  2. Enroll in VISE’s IMPACT program. This is a semester-long for-credit course through the Vanderbilt School of Engineering that is geared towards medical device inventors.
  3. Take a for-credit Innovation Development or Entrepreneurship Course, such as Marie Thursby’s Innovation Realization, Professor Dave Owen’s New Product Design and/or Professor Michael Burcham’s Launching a Venture courses.
  4. Contact the Wond’ry Team ( and we can put you in our I-Corps Mentorship and Customer Discovery program.

If you are currently enrolled in or have completed any of the above programs and have a STEM idea that involves intellectual property, please reach out the Wond’ry team ASAP to discuss your eligibility.

It has been universally demonstrated that diversity and inclusion of thoughts, experience, and culture enhances the capacity for innovation in any team or community. The Wond’ry is intentionally seeking inclusive cohorts composed of a diverse mix of potential participants including those from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.  We strongly encourage applicants and participants from those groups.

For general information about the I-Corps site program or questions about the eligibility of your idea, email

For more detailed inquiries, contact the Wond’ry’s NSF I-Corps Consultant, Dr. Charleson Bell, at


About the NSF’s I-Corps National Program


The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program was introduced in 2011 to accelerate the economic and societal benefits of academic research. At its core, the I-Corps Program teaches how to apply the scientific method to the development of business models that can support the translation of new technologies to commercial markets. The I-Corps Program is defined by a national network of Nodes and Sites. Participation in select programs at the Vanderbilt I-Corps Site program can provide your project with modest funding to support customer discovery efforts and provide NSF lineage that allow you the opportunity to participate in the National I-Corps program.

The National I-Corps program is an intensive 7-week program based on Steve Blank’s award winning Lean Launch curriculum. Participants do not need any background in business or company startup. In fact, that’s the heart of the program.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Have a STEM idea with intellectual property
  • Have participated in a site program (at Vanderbilt: Ideator, IMPACT, New Product Design, Launching a Venture, or Innovation Realization).
  • Be able to attend a 3 day onsite kickoff workshop and 2 day closing Lessons Learned session. These are held around the country and upcoming dates/locations can be found here
  • Participate in weekly, 3-hr WebEx meetings. These begin after the onsite kickoff workshop and are composed of an hour lesson from the National Teaching Team on an aspect of the Business Model Canvas followed by time for each team to present on the progress they’ve made that week.

Team Composition:

Each team participating in the National I-Corps Program must have at least 3 members. If you do not have a team, the Wond’ry can help you find one if needed.

  • Principal Investigator/Technical Lead – Principal Investigator and/or Someone with a Technical Background in the area of the technology or idea. A TL can substitute for the PI if the PI is unable to travel to the kickoff and closing events.
  • Entrepreneurial Lead – This person will do most of the ‘boots on the ground’ work during the program. The EL will conduct customer interviews and be the primary presenter during the WebEx meetings.
  • Business Mentor – Someone with a background in business formation, startup, technology transfer, etc. The Wond’ry has a pool of business mentors and can help locate someone to participate on your I-Corps team if needed.

Not sure if you qualify? Haven’t participated in our Vanderbilt I-Corps site programming, but are interested in the National Program? Reach out to us at to schedule a time to meet with our team.




This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1735762 (PIs Grajewski and Webster). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.