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The University of Wisconsin-Madison is among 14 Midwest universities to join the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) network—a program designed to move more discoveries from research laboratories into the real world.

UW-Madison is part of the Great Lakes I-Corps Hub. Led by the University of Michigan, the Great Lakes Hub was one of the original five hubs created in January 2022.

Launched in 2011, I-Corps is an entrepreneurial training program that accelerates the societal and economic benefits of university research by preparing scientists and engineers to commercialize their inventions. The I-Corps training program focuses on training an entrepreneurial workforce, bringing cutting edge technologies to market and enabling positive economic impact, and nurturing an innovation ecosystem.

More than 5,800 innovators, 1,900 teams and 1280 universities, colleges, institutions and organizations have been trained through the I-Corps program. Through fiscal year 2020, more than 1,030 startups have cumulatively raised more than $760 million in public and private funding.

The Great Lakes region is home to many of the world’s leading research institutions, and many of our nation’s critical industries. The Great Lakes I-Corps Hub aims to leverage this intellectual depth and make a lasting economic impact on the region by creating new businesses, keeping existing companies globally competitive, and developing talent with technical, cultural and entrepreneurial expertise.

The hub has set an ambitious goal of training 2,350 teams in the next five years and sending an additional 220 teams to a more in-depth National NSF I-Corps program—helping to fill a widening gap between cutting-edge university research and the work of industry to develop that research into societal benefit and economic gain.

UW-Madison’s technology-focused approach to entrepreneurial education and emphasis on innovation make it a strong partner in the Great Lakes Hub, says Bonnie Bachman, who directs the Technology Entrepreneurship Office at UW-Madison and is leading the university’s membership in I-Corps. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Great Lakes Hub, as well as our partners in Wisconsin, to introduce entrepreneurial thinking to even more of our outstanding engineers and scientists in academia.”

UW-Madison’s I-Corp application was a collaborative effort among the College of Engineering; School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences; the College of Letters & Science, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Vice Chancellor’s Office for Research and Graduate Education, and Discovery to Product.

Hub member institutions also include Purdue University, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, Michigan Technological University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, the University of Akron, the University of Chicago, the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska, the University of Toledo, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.