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September 11, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Vanderbilt University leading new Mid-South I-Corps Hub

Vanderbilt University’s The Wond’ry will lead one of five new Innovation Corps (I-CorpsTM) regional hubs announced last week by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Mid-South I-Corps Hub, which will launch in January 2023 and is funded with $15 million for five years, is a regional alliance that also includes George Mason University; Jackson State University; Meharry Medical College; Tennessee State University; University of Kentucky; University of Louisville; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and University of Virginia.

According to this news release, the new effort to develop an inclusive innovation corridor across the Midsouth will be facilitated by The Wond’ry’s Charleson Bell, Director of Entrepreneurship, Biomedical Innovation and I-Corps, and Deanna Meador, Deputy Director. They will serve as Hub Director and Lead Instructor, respectively. David A. Owens, Evans Family Executive Director, and Mandy Lalrindiki, Program Manager of Innovation and Design Research, will also serve in vital roles on the hub leadership team.

I-Corps Hubs provide experiential entrepreneurial training to academic researchers across all fields of science and engineering. They also form the operational backbone of the National Innovation Network — a network of universities, NSF-funded researchers, local and regional entrepreneurial communities and other federal agencies — that help researchers translate fundamental research results to the marketplace. The I-Corps Hubs work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem throughout the U.S.

Established in 2011, the I-Corps program is designed to support the commercialization of deep technologies, which grow from discoveries in fundamental science and engineering. Since its inception, approximately 2,800 NSF I-Corps teams have participated in the program.

The newly funded I-Corps Hubs will join the five Hubs funded last year to serve national needs through the following areas of responsibility:

  • Create and implement tools, resources and training activities that enhance the nation’s innovation capacity;
  • Identify, develop and support promising research that can generate economic value;
  • Gather, analyze, evaluate, and utilize the data and insights resulting from the experiences of those participating in local, regional and national I-Corps programs;
  • Provide opportunities to diverse communities of innovators; and
  • Share and leverage effective innovation practices on a national scale to impact economic growth and improve quality of life throughout the nation.

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