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Catalyzing U.S. Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Approaching the Evaluation of the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Program

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 5

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Paper Authors


Nathalie Duval-Couetil Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Nathalie Duval-Couetil is the Director of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, Associate Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center, and a Professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation at Purdue University. Nathalie’s education and research activities focus on entrepreneurship pedagogy and assessment; entrepreneurship and STEM; student intellectual property policy; graduate student professional development; and women and entrepreneurship. Prior to academia, Nathalie worked in the field of market research and strategy consulting in Europe and the U.S. with Booz Allen and Hamilton and Data and Strategies Group. She received a BA from UMass Amherst, an MBA from Babson College, and MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University.

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Alanna Epstein University of Michigan

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Assistant Research Scientist

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Aileen Huang-Saad Northeastern University

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Dr. Huang-Saad is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Northeastern University and the Director of Life Sciences and Engineering Programs at Northeastern's Roux Institute in Portland, Maine. Dr. Huang-Saad is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Springer’s Biomedical Engineering Education and Division Chair for the American Society of Engineering Education’s Biomedical Engineering Division. Dr. Huang-Saad’s current research areas are entrepreneurship, innovation, and transforming higher education. She is funded by the NSF to explore the influence of the microenvironment of entrepreneurship education on minoritized populations, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and fostering graduate student professional development.

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The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program was created to stimulate innovation and benefit society by training academic entrepreneurs to participate in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. Defining outcomes and measuring the impact of a national initiative such as I-Corps is complex for many methodological and practical reasons. This study describes the I-Corps program structure and highlights the role that regional entities play in training and evaluation activities. Interviews with Node administrators highlight the diversity of approaches to evaluation activities and the existence of key evaluation challenges. They also offer insights into how these challenges could be overcome with more support and coordination nationally and across regional ecosystems.

Duval-Couetil, N., & Epstein, A., & Huang-Saad, A. (2022, August), Catalyzing U.S. Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Approaching the Evaluation of the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Program Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--40727

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