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The California State University (CSU) I-Corps™ is a program of the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) and San Diego State University. Funded by a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) Site program, the CSU I-Corps supports entrepreneurship education, networking opportunities, and mentoring for faculty and student researchers at the 23 CSU campuses. NSF describes I-Corps™ as “a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of…basic-research projects.”

If you’re new to I-Corps – this 3-minute video gives you a good basis for understanding. If you’re pressed for time – this is the 30 second soundbite.  CSU I-Corps is open to any CSU researcher – whether funded by NSF or not – widening the reach of the National Innovation Network.

  • CSU I-Corps Microgrants allow students and faculty researchers to explore the complicated and highly-regulated bioscience market. CSU I-Corps microgrant recipients receive training and advice from commercialization experts and industry professionals. The lessons learned make CSU researchers eligible for follow-on NSF I-Corps Team funding to further develop new products, services and processes for the bioscience market.
  • CSU I-Corps organizes regional meetings, co-hosted by industry associations and partnered organizations, for curious biological sciences researchers and nascent academic entrepreneurs. Events are intentionally designed to get CSU researchers off campus, out of labs and networked with California’s formidable bioscience entrepreneurship community. CSU I-Corps joins academic researchers and nascent entrepreneurs to this community and sets them up to be successful contributors to California’s bioscience economy.
CSU Campus Partners

Students and faculty can find entrepreneurship mentors, entrepreneurial networks and alumni advisors at our partner institutes. If you’re considering participation in CSU I-Corps activities, these organizations might be your first stop for more information about biological sciences commercialization. These campus centers will co-host regional meetings for academic researchers.

CPP_200Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration hosts PolyFounders, the BroncoStartup Challenge Competition, and the Young Entrepreneurs Summit for student entrepreneurs. The College also hosts the Product Development and Commercialization Lab – a collaboration with the Colleges of Engineering and Science.


CalPolyCIE_200Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship extends the campus’ “Learn by Doing” philosophy to equip students with the skills to ideate, create, test and market their concepts. The SLO HotHouse brings together students and community members with a series of programs and networking opportunities. CIE is co-located with the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center, part of a federally-funded network to provide high-quality business assistance to start-ups and established companies.

CSU Sacramento logoCSU Sacramento’s Colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science, and Business Administration prepare graduates for an increasingly competitive workforce.  Over the past three years faculty, mentors and students from all three Colleges have participated in CSUPERB’s Early-stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenges with great success. In 2014 three Sac State teams were selected for recognition by the life science industry panel evaluating the bioscience product concepts presented.

Lavin_200San Diego State University’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center developed the biological sciences curriculum offered by the CSU I-Corps, in collaboration with the College of Sciences and CSUPERB.  The Lavin Center is home to the LeanModel Start-Up Competition that reaches out to Californian student entrepreneurs on both sides of the US-Mexico border, as well as a comprehensive set of programs designed to give “real world” experience to budding entrepreneurs.

Zahn_200San Diego State University’s Zahn Innovation Center is housed in the College of Engineering, but “is a commercial and social incubator that supports San Diego State University innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs—students, faculty and staff from any major or department on campus—as they transform their ideas into companies.” Currently the Zahn Center is incubating 44 teams at a variety of development stages working in a range of industry sectors, including biotechnology and medical device development.

SJSU_200San Jose State University’s Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) is a student-run organization well-known in the Silicon Valley for its annual Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference.  The SJSU BMES maintains a robust alumni database and hosts Networking Events to connect students and faculty with local biomedical device professionals and regional companies.


CSU I-Corps Industry Partners

Students and faculty can find industry mentors, biological sciences community networks and informative programming at our industry partner organizations.  If you’re considering participation in CSU I-Corps activities, these organizations should be your first stop off-campus as sources of potential mentors and information about biological sciences commercialization.  These industry partners will help CSUPERB match CSU I-Corps teams with industry mentors and co-host regional meetings for academic researchers.



CSU I-Corps Teaching Team:
  • Susan Baxter (PI), Executive Director, CSUPERB
  • Alex De Noble (co-PI), Professor, Management, San Diego State University & Executive Director, Lavin Entrepreneurship Center
  • Stanley Maloy, Dean, College of Sciences, San Diego State University
  • Tommy Martindale, Director, Technology Transfer Office, San Diego State University
  • Cathy Pucher, Executive Director, Zahn Innovation Platform (ZIP), San Diego State University
CSU I-Corps Contact Information

Tweeting @csu_icorps


CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB)
Phone: (619) 594-2822
Email: csuicorps@mail.sdsu.edu
Website: www.calstate.edu/csuperb

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center
San Diego State University
Website: lavincenter.sdsu.edu