NSF I-Corps Hub, Mid-Atlantic Region expands with addition of Hampton University

September 20, 2022

The NSF I-Corps Hub, Mid-Atlantic Region, already a network of ten universities with the mission of helping researchers learn how to translate fundamental research to the marketplace, will grow this year with the addition of Hampton University, Hub officials announced.

“Hampton University already has a rich history of I-Corps programs, is a leading HBCU [historically black college or university] in the region, as well as the country, and has strong support for Hub inclusion from both faculty and administration leaders in the university,” said Dan Kunitz, Director and Co-PI of the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub. “Their addition allows us to broaden I-Corps participation and reach more underserved communities. We will have greater societal impact and economic impact with this expanded partnership.”

The Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub is a collaboration of research institutions spanning North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania. The Hub, led by the University of Maryland, seeks to pool the combined resources of universities to standardize and spread I-Corps training across the region.

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program is an immersive, entrepreneurial training program that facilitates the transformation of invention to impact. I-Corps provides real-world, hands-on training on how to successfully incorporate innovations into successful products. The ultimate goal is to create a new venture or licensing opportunity for program participants. Across the country, individual hubs implement the I-Corps™ program in regional research communities.

The addition of Hampton University to the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub is part of a nationwide I-Corps expansion announced by the NSF on September 8 that includes five new regional hubs.

For more than 150 years, Hampton University has been a standard of excellence in higher education. The university has experienced accelerated growth and achieved notable accomplishments, offering a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. Hampton has several dedicated research centers in areas such as health disparities, physics, and engineering. In 2020, the university was awarded a $17.7 million grant to establish the Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, which helps aspiring entrepreneurs via a statewide small-business incubator.

Hampton was one of the first HBCUs to win an NSF I-Corps Site award, in conjunction with Howard University.

Leading the Hub’s efforts at Hampton University are Jerald Dumas, Chairperson and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, along with Karen Maxell, Chairperson and Associate Professor of Management and Management Information Systems.

The Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub will conduct regional I-Corps cohorts and regional Train-the-Trainer programs with Hampton University starting this year. Hampton will recruit for and deliver regional I-Corps cohorts, recruit participation among other state and regional partners and other HBCUs, and help lead and guide the Hub’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and new Broadening Participation Activity.

Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub universities now include Penn State University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, Howard University, the George Washington University, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech, and Hampton University.