The University of Nebraska-Lincoln joins a regional National Science Foundation initiative that helps bring the research of university scientists to the real world.
membership at NSF‘s Great Lakes Innovation Corps Hub will build on and expand on Nebraska’s entrepreneurial efforts, said Brad Roth, President and Executive Director of NOWtech Ventures, the university’s subsidiary for technology commercialization.
NSF founded the Great Lakes I-Corps Hub in 2021. With the addition of Nebraska, the hub now includes 12 universities in eight states and is one of 10 regional hubs nationwide.
Roth said I-Corps engages academic scientists and engineers in innovation by offering world-class educational programs designed to train them to expand their focus beyond the lab and accelerate the transfer of cutting-edge research into commercial success.
“We have built strong expertise in customer discovery and startups,” said Bob Wilhelm, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development. “Our membership in the Great Lakes I-Corps Hub is a natural next step and particularly timely as we focus on the seven UNL Big challenges that drive much of our research and creative activity.”
Nebraska’s membership will give it expanded opportunities for entrepreneurship programs through the hub and its member institutions, Roth said. The university will have additional training opportunities to support its faculty, staff and student entrepreneurs, as well as access to a robust regional mentoring and investor network.
Roth said the I-Corps Hub membership builds on Nebraska’s success over the past few years with his Nebraska Introduction to Customer Discovery (N-ICD) program, an I-Corps modeled program that NOWtech Ventures has used the last three years to train researchers aiming to commercialize the technology.
NICD is now training its seventh year. The program attracted more than 170 participants, including 80 teams from all University of Nebraska campuses. Last year, three Husker teams participated in the national I Corps program. Sentinel fertigation is a recent example of a husker startup that N-ICD and other Nebraska startup ecosystem resources to launch.
“We are excited to join the Great Lakes I-Corps Hub,” said Roth. “This is a great opportunity to provide additional support to up-and-coming people UNL Entrepreneurs to bring more technology from the lab to market.”
Jonathan Fay, Executive Director of the Hub, said: “The NSF I-Corps Hub: Great Lakes Region is pleased to have the University of Nebraska joining us. NSF I-Corps has proven to be a catalytic program, vastly improving the flow of talent and knowledge from academia to the business world, where it can really make a difference. With the addition of the University of Nebraska to our hub, we will expand the reach of the program and be able to leverage the university’s unique assets and connections for the benefit of the region and the nation.”
NOWN- from tech venturesICD Partners include the Center for Entrepreneurship, Combine Incubator, Nebraska Business Development Center, National Strategic Research Institute and Invest Nebraska.
In addition to Nebraska, the Great Lakes I-Corps Hub is led by the University of Michigan in partnership with Purdue University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, University of Toledo, Iowa State University and Michigan Technological University , the Missouri University of Science and Technology, the University of Akron, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.