The NSF I-Corps Site program: Customer Discovery

In the innovation development process, understanding the needs of the potential customer, stakeholder or end-user is essential to evaluate the value of your product idea and whether it actually is the solution to their specific “pain points,” or recurring problems that inconvenience customers.

At Center ICE, we provide a six-week National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Site (I-Corps) program to accelerate academic research and startup business projects that are ready to move toward commercialization.

Low angle image of three people standing around a table.
Photo courtesy of Storyblocks
People work together during a brainstorming session for a project.

Teams participate in the I-Corps training program in cohorts. The current cohort are defining their value propositions, understanding the customer segments, and connecting with potential customers to find their pain points and explore how they can provide a solution.

I-Corps is designed to help innovators accelerate their product toward commercialization. Through the I-Corps program, teams complete 15 – 20 interviews over the six weeks.

Hear from past teams on their I-Corps experience at

I-Corps benefit to you, the entrepreneur:

  • Learn customer discovery practices
  • Gain stakeholder feedback
  • Acquire funding up to $4,500/team
  • Develop an evidence-based commercialization strategy
  • Build the skills to transition to NSF National I-Corps program

The next cohort starts Tuesday, Oct.4. Apply now at Closing Date for the next cohort is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3.

Learn more about I-Corps, the current cohort, or details on the next cohort by contacting with the subject line: “I-Corps Fall 2023.”

The UAF I-Corps program is funded through a grant to Center ICE from the National Science Foundation, #1829281. You can learn more about I-Corps at