Or, at least, it (more precisely, the NSF) will give thousands of dollars to those who want to make us nice things.
On Wednesday, I attended a Virtual Reality in Education meet-up where a dozen or so aspirant entrepreneurs gathered ‘round the warm glow of a computer screen to hear the wise words of Philip Leow, a representative from the New York City Regional Innovation Node.
The New York City Regional Innovation Node aims to bridge the gap between research and industry by bringing fundamental scientific research into the marketplace. NSF-funded researchers can apply for one of several variations of the I-Corps’ seven-week entrepreneurial program, where teams are given the mentoring and financial support to soft market test their product.
In addition to walking us through the application process and grant types, Leow gave us insight into what makes an applicant competitive in the eyes of the NSF.
What does he wish he saw more of? While innovations in blockchain and medicine run amuck, Leow's been hungering for technology a tad more elusive — edtech and (this came as a surprise, though perhaps it shouldn’t have) fashion tech (hi, design team).
“We’ll really fund anything — except drugs. Drugs are FDA,” said Leow.
As for what makes companies stand out, Leow echoed what we EdLabbers already know to be true: the synergy among team members. The stronger the team, the better the chances of bringing a crazy idea to fruition.
So in summary, if you have a) a brilliant edtech (or fashion tech) idea and b) a three-person suicide squad comprised of a technical expert, industry mentor, and whatever a CEO is supposed to be, consider applying for a NSF Innovation Corps grant today (or really any time, they sponsor a new cohort every three months).