NSF training program to help students market their research

A two-week regional training program soon will give Arkansas student researchers valuable experience that could ultimately help them bring their innovations to the marketplace.

The Southwest Node of the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) kicks off Friday, May 13, with a workshop at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and concludes with a Friday, May 27, workshop at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Twelve teams — including six from UALR, five from UA Fayetteville, and one from the the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences — will participate.

Each squad will include one to three graduate research students, a research faculty member, and an industry mentor.

The program is designed to encourage entrepreneurship in the research community, helping participants examine their work from a potential customer’s perspective and exposing them to experts with diverse specialties and experiences.

Through the workshop, participants will learn how to test their research for business viability.

Teams will create a business thesis, identifying the product and potential customers and reasons why customers would purchase the product.

Students will contact potential customers and craft their messages to highlight the benefits of their products in a commercial setting.

Participation in the regional workshop could help students become eligible to apply for inclusion in the seven-week national I-Corps program, which includes a $50,000 team grant.

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