Polsky I-Corps

Polsky I-Corps

Applications & Eligibility


Team applications will be reviewed by a selection committee on a rolling basis and those accepted into the program will be assigned to a cohort based on availability. Qualified applicants may be invited to an interview with members of the selection committee as part of the application process. View the I-Corps team application online. >>

Team eligibility requirements include:

  • A minimum of two teammates, co-located in the Chicagoland region, who are committed to attending all required sessions and completing out-of-class assignments – we do not recommend having more than four teammates, total
  • An idea or project based in the STEM fields – this idea can be early-stage and teams are not required to have fully-functioning prototypes or proof-of-concept data
  • A current university-affiliated teammate – teams including faculty, students, and staff from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Lab, Fermilab, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and Chicago-area colleges and universities may apply for I-Corps
  • Curiosity and enthusiasm for learning about the process of innovation

Team composition:

It is required that participants apply to this program as a team of at least two people. We do not recommend that teams apply with more than four participants. Typically, teams consist of at least one scientific or technological expert who is responsible for the team’s idea (“the academic lead”) and at least one student, alumni, or post-doctoral fellow interested in conducting entrepreneurial research and directing group efforts (“the entrepreneurial lead”). The entrepreneurial lead may or may not have prior business experience, but is committed to leading or organizing team activities during the I-Corps Program.

The Polsky Center can help facilitate team formation in order to match people with different experiences onto teams, including connecting teams with student interns. For more information on how to form a team for I-Corps, contact Ellen Zatkowski.

Chicago Booth Student Eligibility:

Current students from the Booth School of Business are encouraged to apply to the I-Corps program via the team application only if they are working directly with a scientist/researcher from the University of Chicago or other academic institutions, or if they have their own patented technology. Looking for a class that’s similar to I-Corps? We recommend the following great courses: Entrepreneurial DiscoveryEntrepreneurial SellingBuilding the New Venture, and Lab in Developing New Products and Services. Chicago Booth students are also encouraged to apply as student interns for the I-Corps program (see below).


Student interns are an integral part of an I-Corps team and utilize the program to explore their interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. Students work closely with the scientific team to conduct interviews with industry stakeholders and explore potential market applications for a technology coming out of research at the University of Chicago and affiliated national labs. Interns are expected to fully participate in the I-Corps program (roughly 5-8 hours/week) and complete all program requirements to gain the most valuable experience from the program. I-Corps is extracurricular and participants do not review course credit for participating in the program.

Current graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to apply as a student intern for the Polsky I-Corps program. Applications will be reviewed after the deadline. Student interns who are accepted into the program will be matched with an I-Corps team participating in that quarter’s cohort. Team assignments are based on availability as each cohort’s teams vary widely in terms of technology and industry. View the I-Corps student intern application online. >>

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