ARPA-E Awardees Selected for NSF Innovation Corps Program

Five ARPA-E project teams were selected to participate in the upcoming National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, program that kicks off this week. ARPA-E awardees Michigan State University (OPEN 2009), University of Southern California (GRIDS), Virginia Commonwealth University (REACT), University of Houston (REACT), and Georgia Institute of Technology (IMPACCT) are participating in a trial program framework known as “I-Corps @ ARPA-E,” which was established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies.

"ARPA-E is honored to be the first agency to partner with NSF to pilot the I-Corps program with our projects. We believe that the I-Corps model has demonstrated real value in its first 18 months," said Dr. Ilan Gur, Program Director and Senior Advisor for Commercialization at ARPA-E. "We look forward to see how our participating projects can potentially turn their technology breakthroughs into viable commercialization strategies.”

The I-Corps curriculum is an intensive six-week program that includes both online and in-person instruction on Customer and Business Model development.  The ultimate goal of I-Corps is to foster the commercialization of government-funded technology research.

“We’ve seen that Customer and Business Model Development are approaches that scientists and engineers adapt to quickly.  We are confident the ARPA-E teams are going to thrive in I-Corps and are thrilled to be able to provide them the opportunity to do so,” said Dr. Errol Arkilic, NSF I-Corps Program Director.

The ARPA-E teams will work on commercialization strategies for the following technologies:

  • Michigan State University (OPEN 2009): Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Norbert Mueller, the team’s wave disk engine under development could perform in a more efficient thermal cycle in a smaller and lighter engine.
  • University of Southern California (GRIDS): Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Sri Narayan, the team’s rechargeable iron-air battery under development is aimed at the need for inexpensive and robust large-scale electrical energy storage systems. 
  • Virginia Commonwealth University (REACT): Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Everett Carpenter, the team’s new magnet manufacturing process and ferromagnetic material under development could mitigate rare earth magnets supply risk domestically.
  • University of Houston (REACT): Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Philippe Masson, the team’s low-cost, high-current superconducting wire under development could be incorporated into motor and generator applications.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology* (IMPACCT): Led by Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Krista Walton, the team will look to generate a business model around various applications while addressing scalability challenges of promising metal organic frameworks.  Principal Investigator Dr. David Scholl will serve as an adviser to the team.

Any questions about the participating teams or the “I-Corps @ ARPA-E” partnership can be directed to ARPA-E’s Technology-to-Market Team at

For more information on NSF’s I-Corps program, please visit:

NSF I-Corps Home Page

Nature, September 2011

Scientific American, October 2011

The Wall Street Journal, May 2012

The Economist, July 2012

*Note: The Georgia Institute of Technology team applied directly to NSF to participate in the I-Corps program, and are sponsored by NSF.