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Congratulations to WEPAN Institutional Members taking part in NSF I-Corps Hubs

September 8, 2021

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently launchedfive Hubs across the country as the next stage of the I-Corps program, which trains scientists and engineers to carry their promising ideas and technologies beyond the university and into the marketplace to benefit society.

>The Hubs will implement the I-Corps program in the research community by creating a network of universities that help support researchers who can learn how to translate fundamental research to the marketplace. 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 for societal benefit.

We’d like to congratulate our WEPAN Institutional Members who are a part of the new Hubs: Iowa State University, Michigan Technological University, and Purdue University in the Great Lakes Region Hub; Carnegie Mellon, the University of Maryland, Penn State, and Virginia Tech in the Mid-Atlantic Region Hub, Stevens Institute of Technology in the New York Region Hub, and Colorado School of Mines in the West Region Hub.

A major focus of the new Hub awards is to cultivate more diverse, equitable, and inclusive entrepreneurship pathways through I-Corps and WEPAN is helping support these efforts. Through the ADVANCE, INCLUDES, & I-Corps Inclusion Collective, WEPAN is working with I-Corps programs tobridge diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and entrepreneurship knowledge and practice between the three NSF programs.

The project is funded by the NSF I-Corps program (award #1937340) and is a partnership between the University of Toledo (PI, Norm Rapino), Purdue University (Co-PI, Matthew Lynall), Michigan Technological University (collaborator, Mary Raber), New Mexico State University (collaborator, Lauren Goldstein), Hexalign (collaborator, Erin Kelley), Honeycomb Works (collaborator, Melissa Sabella), and WEPAN (Co-PI, Heather Metcalf).

“Collaborating with WEPAN, an organization focused on systemic change in STEM, supports all DEI efforts crucial to the I-Corps Hub program,” says Rapino. “We have a long history of working together and delivering high-value outcomes.”

WEPAN Director of Research and Constituent Relations, Dr. Heather Metcalf, is a co-PI on the project. Together with a team of consultants, including those from the NSF ADVANCE and INCLUDES communities, the project engages the I-Corps community in evidence-based change initiatives. Using a software tool and DEI audit framework, the team performs DEI audits, systemic and individual change action planning, and implementation cycles with I-Corps institutions, including the Hubs. Along the way, ADVANCE and INCLUDES team members also gain insight into entrepreneurial pathways for sustaining their DEI efforts beyond the life of their NSF grants.

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