The July 2017 Summer Sprint cohort of teams got off campus to talk with start-up founders at JLABS San Diego. This cohort includes research teams from Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Fullerton, CSU San Marcos and San Diego State University.


What: A 5-day CSU I-Corps™ Summer Sprint (see syllabus here)

Who: Teams of CSU faculty, student and/or staff researchers working with an industry mentor. Teams can use our mentor handbook to help recruit a suitable industry mentor.

What: Teams must have biotechnology-focused ideas based on a CSU-based research project. Team members must have hands-on ties to a research lab or project. CSUPERB defines biotechnology as a fusion of biology and a technology. As a result, research-based ideas should fall into one of these categories: therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, digital health, environmental monitoring, instrumentation/bioinformatics/algorithmic tools, assistive technology, biofuels or agricultural biotech. Teams are eligible whether or not they have filed invention disclosures with their campus research offices.

When: July 16-22, 2017 (Monday – Friday; move-in Sunday afternoon/evening)

Where: San Diego State University

How: CSU I-Corps will cover participants’ travel to and from San Diego, as well as lodging and meals at San Diego State University during the workshop.  Teams will also win $1000 microgrants to help advance their research-based ideas.

Why: The National Science Foundation (NSF) describes I-Corps™ as “a set of activities and programs to prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of…basic-research projects.” Work with industry professionals to learn about biotechnology commercialization, grow your professional network, and explore entrepreneurial opportunities that build on basic research. Based on lessons learned, participation may open doors to follow-on funding opportunities at NSF, as well as other sources of funding.

Summer Sprint Learning Objectives:

  • Experience working with a team to identify problems and propose solutions
  • Learn about evidence-based entrepreneurship as taught by NSF I-Corps™ nodes and sites nationwide
  • Apply evidence-based entrepreneurship concepts via customer discovery in San Diego
  • Gain familiarity with life science commercialization
  • Grow and build off-campus professional networks
  • Present lessons learned to a panel of industry experts

Want more background?  View the slide deck from January’s CSU I-Corps information session at the annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium.


The I-Corps Summer Sprint will start early Monday morning, July 16, 2017, and last through late-afternoon Friday, July 22, 2017.

The July 2017 summer sprint will be full-time, immersive and intense. Due to popular demand, we’re delivering CSU I-Corps content usually taught over 2-3 months in one week!  All I-Corps courses create entrepreneurial experiences “with all the pressures and demands of the real world” – so expect a participatory, fast-paced, high-energy workshop. The summer sprint will require full-time teamwork, leaving very little time to explore San Diego or sit on the beach!

Participants will work with industry professionals to learn about biotechnology commercialization, grow professional networks, and explore entrepreneurial opportunities that build on basic research.  If applicant teams do not have an industry mentor, CSUPERB is committed to matching teams with mentors in our statewide network.  It takes 2-3 weeks to match mentors with teams, so please contact CSUPERB as soon as you recognize you might need help finding an industry mentor.

Participants will be housed in dormitories at San Diego State University.  The campus is connected to the city by trolley.


The Call for Teams is now closed; teams were at work from July 17 – August 31 (2017), including a 5-day immersive workshop.

Selection Criteria:

Applicants do NOT need previous commercialization experience, a developed venture concept, or any protected intellectual property in hand. The summer sprint is designed specifically for curious researchers and nascent academic entrepreneurs.

Teams will be selected by the teaching team based on a complete online application received by the deadline, the applicants’ biotechnology-relevant research background, and a desire to learn about biotechnology commercialization.  All teams will interview with the teaching team before selection.  Selection decisions will be made by mid-June so that workshop participants can make travel arrangements.  Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by email.  We expect to fund up to 15 teams.

If you have questions about the Summer Sprint, your eligibility, the application, finding an industry mentor, or the selection process, contact CSU I-Corps ( or call CSUPERB (619-594-2822).