UC Riverside (UCR) has been a National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps site since 2017 and now, as part of a re-structuring of the program by the NSF which brings sites together in “Hubs”, will transition to be part of the I-Corps Hub West Region, broadening UCR’s program reach to provide innovators a wider network of resources and access to more opportunities to showcase their technologies.
The I-Corps Hub West Region will be led by the University of Southern California in partnership with the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of California Los Angeles. In the new Hub, UCR joins affiliates from the California Institute of Technology, the Colorado School of Mines, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Utah.
As an I-Corps site, UCR has trained more than 300 faculty and students over the past four years to advance commercialization of university technologies into the market. Of the more than 120 teams that have graduated from UCR I-Corps, 7 have advanced to the national I-Corps program and 15 teams have received over $2.5 million in additional grant funding.
“The move to a Hub system to deliver the NSF I-Corps will strengthen our programs by sharing best practices and opening new opportunities for our innovators. We are looking forward to working with the Hub members to accelerate innovation in the region” said Rosibel Ochoa, Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Partnerships at UCR and Principal Investigator for the UCR NSF I-Corps Site and Hub partnership.
UCR ranks #1 in the United State in social mobility according to US News & World Report. In the past year, 75% of I-Corps participants were from minority and underrepresented groups, 34% were female and 28% Hispanic. “We look forward to sharing our experience and further advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in innovation with our I-Corps Hub West partners” added Ochoa.
"For 10 years, the NSF I-Corps program has been critical to fostering the creative spirit and entrepreneurship that enables NSF-funded research to be translated into new products and services and contribute to the nation's economy," said NSF Deputy Assistant Director for Engineering Linda Blevins. "I am delighted to launch the first of our I-Corps Hubs, which will form the foundation for strengthening and scaling this innovation ecosystem. The I-Corps Hubs will bring together diverse scientists and engineers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and industry partners from every part of our country, providing everyone with an opportunity to solve key challenges and spur economic growth, including new startups and new jobs."
Under the new approach, the I-Corps Hubs offer a more integrated approach that incorporates lessons learned from the program's initial success. In addition to providing training and hosting technology showcases that give entrepreneurs an opportunity to demonstrate their value to potential funders, the I-Corps Hub West Region will study incentives as well as impediments to further develop new, world-changing technologies. As a member of the new Hub, UCR will continue to help cultivate technology businesses in the region.