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UT Joins I-Corps South to Expand Entrepreneurial Training

UT will receive grant funding to teach technology entrepreneurship, perform research, and foster innovation through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

A public-private partnership, I-Corps was created in 2011 to train researchers to evaluate the commercial potential of their scientific discoveries. The program is offered in a “start-up boot camp” format.

“I-Corps supports the national innovation ecosystem and helps some of America’s brightest researchers test the commercial potential of their discoveries,” said Grace Wang, acting assistant director for the NSF Directorate for Engineering.

I-Corps South, which started with the Georgia Institute of Technology, is being expanded to include UT and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. It will receive a collective $3.45 million over five years.

EighmyTaylor Eighmy, vice chancellor of research and engagement, will oversee UT’s portion of the grant.

“The University of Tennessee is already a leader within the state in commercializing technology invented in our labs,” said Eighmy. “We look forward to using this grant to leverage our strengths to provide even greater economic impact throughout the state.”

Rhonda Reger will administer the grant. She is the Nestle Professor of Business Administration at UT’s Haslam College of Business and research director for college’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“The expansion of the Georgia Tech node to become I-Corps South and serve the southeastern United States will greatly accelerate technology entrepreneurship throughout this growing region,” said Reger.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development supports programs associated with the grant.

“We will be working with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and LaunchTN, our statewide public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee,” said Randy Boyd, the state’s commissioner of economic and community development. “This type of entrepreneurial training will encourage and grow an innovation ecosystem in this region enhancing commercialization and economic well-being.”


Gerhard Schneibel (865-974-2894, gschneib@utk.edu)

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, tyra.haag@tennessee.edu)