Event Information / FAQs

What is the goal of the conference?
This summit is a special short conference for researchers interested in learning about the innovation process. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation I-Corps program, the objective is to engage the nation's diverse talent in strengthening and scaling the use-inspired and translational research that will drive tomorrow's technologies and societal impact. 


When and where will the conference take place?
The conference will be held on April 24-25 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.  The conference hotel will be the Cambridge Marriott in Kendall Square. The events kicks off at 4pm on Monday, April 24 with an evening reception and dinner on the MIT campus at MIT’s new InnovationHQ and at the new MIT Museum. Both are adjacent to the Marriott.  See markers for each location on the map. The workshops begin at 8am on Tuesday, April 25 and will conclude by 4pm. You will receive breakfast and lunch. We expect to offer several optional Lab Tours on Monday afternoon before the conference starts. The timing is designed to allow participants to travel on Monday morning and return home Tuesday evening. 


Who should attend?
Researchers from groups underrepresented in STEM research organizations in the northeastern region of the US are eligible to apply. This includes faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows / associates from any university or college. All BIPOC and women researchers, especially from Minority Serving Institutions, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities are especially encouraged to apply. Individuals at an institution involved in the technology transfer process that work with underrepresented researchers may also apply.


How do I apply?
Participants must apply for an invitation using this form.  Participants will be notified of their acceptance by email.  A detailed agenda and list of speakers will be provided before the conference. Invited participants will be given information on travel, lodging and meals and reimbursement.


If invited, what travel support will I receive?
For individuals outside of the immediate Cambridge/Boston area, we will arrange to pay for appropriate travel - train / air / car.  Your hotel will be paid for one evening (April 24) at the conference hotel (Boston Marriott Cambridge). We will handle your hotel reservations. All participants will receive meals on Monday evening, as well as breakfast and lunch on Tuesday.  We will coordinate your travel and expenses with you. 


Why should I attend?
The objective of this summit is to engage the nation's diverse talent in strengthening and scaling the use-inspired and translational research that will drive tomorrow's technologies and solutions.

The most successful translations from lab to market are driven by members of research teams who have first-hand knowledge of problems and unmet needs.  Making them uniquely positioned to act on that knowledge, influencing research focus, expanding personal networks, and increasing grant funding. Hear directly from peer researchers that have benefited from NSF I-Corps who will share their experiences and insights.

The summit will provide scientists and engineers with awareness and the ability to engage with activities offered by the NSF I-Corps program to:

  • Learn how to get your discoveries and inventions from the lab to the market
  • Expand your research and career opportunities
  • Engage with the innovation ecosystem

Participants who have completed I-Corps have used the lessons learned and evidence developed through their experience to create opportunities ranging from:

  • Launching a startup: Based on their technology and customer discovery learning
  • Conducting more use-driven research: Further refining their idea to make it market ready or to develop a new technology to fill a market need.
  • Pursuing licensing or knowledge transfers: Working with their university to license their technology to an existing business to bring the product or idea to the marketplace.
  • Securing great jobs in industry: Many participants have found that the knowledge gained through I-Corps can enhance their ability to secure significant leadership positions in industry.

You will also have the opportunity to:

  • Network with researchers from across the Northeastern US
  • Hear from faculty, postdocs and graduate students sharing their I-Corps experiences and how it has impacted them
  • Engage in our interactive program to begin exploring the potential impact of your research
  • Connect with institutional and regional innovation resources
  • Take part in an optional MIT lab tour on the afternoon of April 24 (limited availability)

Key Benefits: What’s in it for Me?
You will learn about a proven process that can help you drive impactful research translations. Hear directly from peer researchers like you that have benefited from NSF I-Corps who will share their experiences and insights.

Key Benefits for Faculty

  • Formulate new research questions and identify new funding opportunities
  • Gather hands-on data to validate technology applications
  • Learn the language of innovation while validating technology concepts and exploring market potential

Additional Benefits for Graduate Students, Postdocs and Research Staff

  • Understand the big picture and where your research will have the most impact
  • Increase confidence in communicating with industry / enhance career options
  • Expand personal network with other researchers and connections to regional translation support resources

About NSF I-Corps™
I-Corps provides real-world, experiential instruction that allows scientists and engineers to evaluate a technology’s commercial opportunity, a critical first step toward successful translation into products, processes and services that benefit society. 

The I-Corps curriculum is not about how to write a research paper, business plan or NSF proposal. Instead, I-Corps participants receive direct, hands-on experience in customer discovery to evaluate the potential of their innovation. The result is a new understanding of what problems your technology may solve, who has those problems, and why your solution will be compelling. You will have evidence that will enable you to make better decisions.
Two types of educational programs are widely available. Short introductory courses are offered locally at universities across the country through the National Innovation Network of I-Corps Hus, Nodes and Sites. You can fiind a listing of these locations here.

For researchers ready to explore further, the NSF national I-Corps Teams program supports researchers interested in an immersive entrepreneurial education and mentoring experience, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to bring technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace. Teams may receive awards of up to $50,000. 


About the Organizers
The Host and lead event organizer is the New England Regional Innovation Node at MIT.  Key Partners include the GEM Fellowship I4 Program, VentureWell, the New York Region Hub, the Interior Northeast Region Hub, and the Northeast Hub.. The NSF I-Corps program (TIP Directorate) is funding the Summit (Award #1933486).


The Program - At a Glance
The current program agenda is shown below. A full final agenda will be published soon.