NSF to provide Irish researchers with entrepreneurial training

21 Jul 2016

Stanford University, California

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has joined forces with Science Foundation Ireland to give Irish researchers entrepreneurial training.

The researchers will train in the US as part of the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) programme. This training will be undertaken at one of the NSF’s seven I-Corps Nodes, which include prestigious US universities such as Berkeley, Stanford and Caltech.

The world-renowned training programme focuses on developing entrepreneurial skills that will enable researchers to realise the economic and societal impact of their research.

‘Both the US and Ireland have vested interests in helping to train a more informed, scientific and engineering workforce able to compete in a worldwide marketplace’

Future Human

“This is a reflection of Ireland’s international reputation for excellent scientific and engineering research and is a great achievement for Ireland,” said Mark Ferguson, director-general of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

“The Irish researchers partnering in this programme will receive immersive real-world training in how to bring scientific and technological research to market. The I-Corps programme will greatly enhance Ireland’s innovation potential.”


The programme will involve an intensive bootcamp delivered at some of the most prestigious universities in the US followed by a mentored programme of opportunity discovery.

Teams will learn the most up-to-date skills and techniques for opportunity discovery and business model development that are based on the Lean LaunchPad methodology developed by Steve Blank of Stanford University for the I-Corps programme.

“The goal of the I-Corps program is to shorten the cycle time from when a scientist has a research breakthrough to broad societal impact,” said NSF director Dr France Córdova.

“This new partnership between NSF and SFI allows both agencies to leverage our strengths and resources to continue to achieve this goal, and to bolster the innovation ecosystem both at home and as part of a global economy.

“Both the US and Ireland have vested interests in helping to train a more informed, scientific and engineering workforce able to compete in a worldwide marketplace that is becoming increasingly interconnected. This pilot programme is further evidence of the flexibility and efficacy of the NSF I-Corps model,” Córdova said.

Participation in the pilot programme will be through application to Science Foundation Ireland, initially from researchers in the 12 Science Foundation Ireland research centres.

Participants will be selected through a competitive process jointly by Science Foundation Ireland and the NSF.

Stanford campus image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years