Penn State to play key role in NSF’s Mid-Atlantic I-Corps hub


UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – The National Science Foundation awarded Penn State $ 1.5 million as one of eight universities selected to participate in the Mid-Atlantic NSF I-Corps Hub, run by the University of Maryland. This funding will allow Penn State to extend entrepreneurial training to university researchers in science and engineering to foster and maintain the United States’ global leadership in innovation.

The hub will create tools, resources and training activities; identify and support promising research that can generate economic value; provide opportunities for diverse communities of innovators; and share and leverage effective innovation practices nationally.

“Penn State’s research company continues to be a driving force in translating research out of our labs for the benefit of the Commonwealth, the nation and the world,” said Lora Weiss, senior vice president of research at Penn State. “We are delighted to continue this excellent work to foster the commercialization of discoveries and to partner with other leading research institutions in the region, enabling research to strengthen and expand the innovation ecosystem. and advance economic development. “

The five-year-funded NSF I-Corps Hubs will bring the foundation’s Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, program into the research community by creating a network of universities that help researchers commercialize their technologies and to reflect the impact of their work on the market. The hubs, organized in five regional zones, will work collaboratively to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem across the United States. Each regional pole includes at least eight universities.

James Delattre, Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Penn State’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing, will serve as Co-Principal Investigator for the Mid-Atlantic NSF I-Corps Hub. Jessica Menold, Assistant Professor of Family Career Development at Penn State College of Engineering Hartz in Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering, will use her expertise in new product development and engineering design to serve as the center’s professor and research lead. .

“The long-term success of this initiative lies in our effectiveness in bringing the vast intellectual capital on and around our campuses to market,” said Delattre. “The expansion of the I-Corps program into a multi-university cluster model will catalyze an integration of resources, cultivate a high level of collaboration in the mid-Atlantic region, and create a living laboratory to study the process of commercializing research. “

Since the Penn State Invent initiative was launched by Penn State President Eric Barron in 2015, Penn State has made significant strides in economic development, job creation, and student career success. NSF awarded Invent Penn State, administered through the Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing, I-Corps site status and $ 500,000 in September 2017 to support entrepreneurship training and micro-grants for university-related startups.

“Over the next five years, we will have the incredible opportunity to study in situ teams of startups from across the Mid-Atlantic region, which will allow our research team to identify the fundamental characteristics of entrepreneurial ecosystems that contribute to the success or failure of teams, while investigating the many other variables that affect startups, ”said Menold. “Ultimately, our goal is to identify what separates successful startups from failed startups and develop mitigation strategies that universities can use to increase the odds of success based on the unique characteristics of the startup and of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. “

Other universities joining Penn State in the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub include Carnegie Mellon University, George Washington University, Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, Carolina State University of North, the University of Maryland, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pennsylvania and Virginia Tech.

“We are delighted to partner with some of the most prestigious research institutions in the Eastern United States and lead the research direction of the new center,” said Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Penn State Engineering. “It is extremely important that we work collaboratively to broaden the impact of university research and stimulate economic development both locally and regionally. “

To learn more about the Invent Penn State NSF I-Corps site, visit

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