On July 3, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the program announcement (PA) for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Proof of Concept Commercialization Pilot Program from the Innovation Corps at the Department of Defense (I Corps @ DOD). Modeled after the highly successful National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program, I Corps @ DOD intends to accelerate innovation of funded research by providing principal investigators (PIs) with training, mentorship, and funding to help spur the transition of fundamental research into emerging products and services that can attract subsequent third-party funding. The DOD intends to award roughly $500,000 under this PA. The program includes extensive training in product commercialization from industry experts and successful entrepreneurs with experience assisting the NSF’s I-Corps Teams in bringing innovations to market.
Similar to the NSF I-Corps program, I Corps @ DOD provides additional support for a previously funded research effort to transition fundamental research to the commercial market, encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train students to understand innovation and entrepreneurship. The main component is the I-Corps Team, made up of a principal investigator, entrepreneurial lead, and a I-Corps @ DOD mentor. The entrepreneurial lead is intended to be a postdoctoral researcher, graduate student, or other student focused on commercializing the innovation. The mentor, who should be from a third party, can be recruited by the proposer and should have experience with transitioning technology from labs to commercialization.
The I Corps @ DOD program, administered by the Army Research Office, is focused on three outcomes:
- A go/no go decision on the viability of products and services.
- Development of a transition plan if a product or service is selected to move forward.
- Execution of a technology demonstration for potential partners.
Due Dates: Applications are due by 4:00 PM EDT on September 15, 2017. Applicants must apply through and fill out the forms on the Grants.gov portal for this PA, located at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=295175.
Total Funding and Award Size: DOD expects $500,000 to be available for this program, with individual awards ranging from $40,000 to $70,000 in size. Up to ten awards are anticipated for FY 2017. All awards will have a performance period of 12 months.
Eligibility and Limitations: In order to compete for a I Corps @ DOD award, the proposer must have a DOD basic research award in a scientific or engineering field relevant to the proposed innovation that is currently active or that has been active within five years from the date of the “I Corps @ DOD” proposal submission. The competition is open to degree-granting universities, nonprofit organizations, or industrial concerns.
Sources and Additional Background:
- The full DOD solicitation can be found at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=295175.
- The NSF I-Corps website is available at http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/index.jsp.