Amarillo’s first NSF I-Corps Regional Program took place in July.
Texas Tech University's Innovation Hub at Research Park partnered with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) to bring the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps program to Amarillo for the first time in July.
The two-week summer regional program brought together eight innovative healthcare-focused teams from Texas Tech, TTUHSC, the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine, and West Texas A&M University. Hosted by Texas Tech's vet school, the program saw tremendous engagement from participants and instructors.
“Teams embarked on an immersive entrepreneurial journey, transforming their ideas into potentially market-ready solutions,” said Ganga Baskar, the Innovation Hub's Commercialization Program Director. “What sets this cohort apart is the sheer dedication towards understanding their customer base – the teams collectively conducted 150-plus customer interviews, an effort reflecting the true spirit of market research and customer-centric approach.”
The NSF I-Corps Summer Regional program was created to help faculty and students explore the commercial viability of healthcare innovations in the West Texas Region. The program, made possible through the Southwest I-Corps Node award, enabled Texas Tech and TTUHSC staff to travel to Amarillo and supported the participants' customer discovery efforts.
The Innovation Hub has seen phenomenal success with the NSF I-Corps program, having trained 196 teams regionally since 2017, with many of them going on to the national program. The program cultivates teams by teaching them how to use the scientific method to assess market opportunities for their innovations. This process, which focuses on developing skills in customer discovery, allows program participants to understand their ecosystem and stakeholders and identify a commercialization pathway.
Following the regional program, eligible teams are recommended to the NSF I-Corps National program, which provides $50,000 to participants to fuel customer discovery and additional development efforts.