Coulter to serve as team lead on multi-university NSF program to foster entrepreneurial startups, broaden opportunities for underrepresented groups

Lehigh is part of one of five new U.S. National Science Foundation I-Corps Hubs announced today to provide experiential entrepreneurial training to academic researchers across all fields of science and engineering and accelerate the transformation of scientific discoveries into technologies that improve everyday lives.

Each Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Hub is funded at $3 million per year for five years and comprises a regional alliance of at least eight universities. Lehigh is a member of the Northeast region I-Corps Hub, led by Princeton University, with partner institutions the University of Delaware and Rutgers University. Affiliates include Lehigh and Temple University in Pennsylvania, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rowan University in New Jersey, and Delaware State University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), with new affiliates added each year.

The I-Corps Hubs form the new operational backbone of the National Innovation Network, a network of universities, NSF-funded researchers, established entrepreneurs, local and regional entrepreneurial communities, and other federal agencies that helps researchers learn how to translate fundamental research results to the marketplace. The hubs will work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem throughout the U.S.

"Fostering the conversion of research discoveries to innovative startup companies is one way that universities can contribute to the regional and national economy,” said Nathan Urban, Lehigh provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Many new companies and whole industries have been created based on university-invented technologies. Critical to this process is training and mentoring a diverse group of faculty and students to foster an entrepreneurial mindset. We are very happy to partner with the Princeton I-Corps Hub—with its focus on areas that include Lehigh's historic strengths in materials and computer science as well as emerging strengths in areas like health care—to provide best-in-class support for faculty and student founders seeking to grow companies based on the best ideas of Lehigh faculty and students."

“The innovation and entrepreneurship culture at Lehigh has always been strong, but being part of this multi-university team focused on more inclusive innovation will enable us to take it to a new level,” said John Coulter, Lehigh professor of mechanical engineering and senior associate dean for research for the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. “Through this program we will create not only more entrepreneurial teams, but inclusive better teams poised to handle the inevitable hurdles and pivots that go along with successful innovation.”

Coulter is the lead faculty principal investigator for the I-Corps grant representing Lehigh. Rick Smith, director of Lehigh’s Office of Technology Transfer, will also play a significant role as programs and initiatives associated with the new innovation hub are developed and implemented.

Read the full article in the Lehigh University News.

Professor John Coulter, Lehigh University

John Coulter, professor of mechanical engineering and senior associate dean for research for the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.