UVM Innovations, the Vermont Department of Economic Development, and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) are pleased to host an I-Corps Short Course in Burlington this fall!

In this free two-week course, academic researchers and early startups working on a tech innovation will receive entrepreneurship training and strong mentor support, as they “get out of the lab” and talk with customers to identify the best product-market fit.

Vermont-based researchers may apply with a team of 1-3 people. Up to 10 teams will be selected.

Teams who successfully complete this I-Corps short course can become eligible to apply for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Teams program, which includes a $50,000 grant.

Apply Now!

Burlington Course Dates:

  • October 16 (8am – 4:30pm) – Kickoff workshop (In person)
  • October 23 (2pm-3pm) – Progress update and coaching (Online)
  • October 30 (2pm-3pm) – Progress update and coaching (Online)
  • November 2 (8am – 12pm) – Closing Workshop (In person)

How It Works:

  • The course begins with an in-person Kickoff workshop (one full day), where teams learn how to use the Business Model Canvas, a hypothesis-testing methodology and customer discovery interviews to explore if there’s a viable market fit for their product idea.
  • Over 2 weeks, teams go out and talk to potential customers about their needs, with the goal of completing 30 interviews.
  • Each week, teams attend a 1-hour video check in to share progress updates and get coaching from the instructors.
  • The short course ends with an in-person Closing workshop (half day) where teams present their findings, get more coaching, and learn about next steps with NSF I-Corps and other entrepreneurship programs.

 Who Should Apply?

Vermont-based academic researchers, early startups and student entrepreneurs who:

  • Have a tech innovation in any STEM field & want to explore its commercialization potential
  • Are willing to find & talk to 30 potential customers in 2 weeks
  • May want to apply for the NSF I-Corps Teams national program and $50,000 grant
  • Have 1-3 team members who can participate in the Short Course dates, including
    • Required: one “Entrepreneurial Lead” (typically a Grad student or Postdoc, sometimes an undergrad, with interest in pursuing a startup based on the technology)
    • Optional: one “Technical Lead” (Faculty or senior lab staff) and on “Industry Mentor” (experienced entrepreneur) who will support the EL in their market exploration.

The I-Corps Short Course is being led by the UNY I-Corps Node – one of eight NSF-funded Innovation Corps Nodes designed to support regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure and research. I-Corps Nodes work cooperatively to build, utilize and sustain a national innovation ecosystem that further enhances the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society.


I have been attending different scientific conferences, exhibits, and courses since the days of my Ph.D. training, well over 30 years ago. Some highlights include the Society for Neuroscience, the Microscopy Society, the Biophysical Society, and Photonics.

The Vermont Booth.

My background is in Cellular Biology and Fluorescence Imaging and my current position as Applications Scientist for Chroma Technology mostly involves training users with advanced microscopy equipment to use our optics for biomedical research and fluorescence, as well as diagnostic applications.

When the VBSA Board of Directors first started talking about the BIO International Convention, I did a little research and thought that the Convention looked interesting, but mostly it looked “marketing and sales”–oriented. However, I figured any meeting or conference with this many people attending had to have something to offer, right? I thought that I would wear my “Vermont Biosciences Hat” for the meeting and see.

A small corner of the BIO International Convention floor.

I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised! Having all these countries, states, and businesses represented was not only a treat for the eyes but much more interesting (at a variety of levels) than I could have imagined. There were actually several companies there that we, at Chroma, do business with around the world. And there were several people who knew researchers whom I have worked with over the years, especially from Core Facilities (mostly at Universities) that do fluorescence and imaging research. I ended up with several business cards and emails from folks interested in future work, and I have heard from several already about different projects that they think I might be able to help with.

In addition, the participants and attendees were curious, energetic, and truly pleasant to talk to.  I wish I could say that for all of the meetings mentioned above.

All-in-all the BIO International Convention was a great meeting/conference for me and Chroma. Now I must say that I don’t think I convinced anyone to move their company to Vermont, but I might have the names of several people that could be interested in working here in the future. More than worth the time and money, and I truly hope that we can arrange to go again next year.

– Michael Stanley, Senior Applications Scientist, Chroma Technology

New BioBeer September 20th!

by VBSA-admin on July 31, 2018

SAVE THE DATE! The VBSA is adding a fall Bio-only Beer on September 20th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at Queen City Brewery! The new BioBeer event will feature a short talk by Dr. Grant Henderson, formerly a Chemical Engineer with Lonza. Register here.

Come to one of Burlington’s coolest breweries and enjoy networking with others in the biotech field while enjoying craft beer and pizza! Whether you’re new to the Vermont biosciences community or want to catch up with old acquaintances, we look forward to welcoming you.