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White House Announces Expansion of Lab-to-Market 'Innovation Corps'

Jon Bilous/

The National Science Foundation’s lab-to-market Innovation Corps initiative has more than doubled its stock of agency partners, adding entities from both the defense and intelligence sectors.

Announced Tuesday as part of the White House's first-ever "Demo Day," this expansion added or expanded eight agency partnerships with the Innovation Corps, according to a White House notice. The I-Corps program offers entrepreneurship training for NSF-funded scientists and engineers.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to start funneling certain entrepreneurs through I-Corps for the first time. And the National Institutes of Health is expected to add a biomedical technology element to its already established I-Corps program, according to the notice.

The National Security Agency is also partnering with the program, and expects to launch an agency-specific version of I-Corps for its own staff. The Defense Department plans to start a pilot program  for its academic researchers.

“By expanding the reach of I-Corps…NSF and its partners both within and outside the administration are committed to tapping into diverse talent across the country,” the White House notice stated.

The program has already been instrumental in turning cutting-edge technology and early concepts into some 260 companies, which have received over $40 million in outside funding, according to the White House notice.

More than 500 teams have successfully completed the I-Corps program.

I-Corps had already established partnerships with the Energy Department, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the state of Ohio, according to the notice.

President Barack Obama announced the substantial scale-up on Tuesday during the White House event. The event brought 90 entrepreneurs from 30 companies to the White House so they could present their “innovation journeys,” according to the notice.

The event is part of the President's "Startup America" initiative, which is meant to help advance entrepreneurship. 

During the White House event, the administration announced it had added 10 new cities and states to its “TechHire” initiative, which aims to expand the tech workforce by implementing short, innovative training techniques.

Also announced were the launch of the Minority Business Enterprise Technology Transfer Initiative, which is expected to advance regional innovation ecosystems, and the Education Department’s Minority Energy Internship Summer Partnership Program to help train college students in technology transfer and entrepreneurship.

(Image via Jon Bilous/

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