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DSU receives NSF funds for innovation

September 9, 2022

Dakota State is one of eight regional institutions named as a recipient of a $14 million Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant.

The consortium includes North Dakota State University (lead), South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, DSU, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, University of North Dakota, University of Wyoming, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Dakota State's portion will be $793,692 for the five years.

Innovation Corps (I-Corps)

A program of the National Science Foundation, I-Corps is widely recognized as an effective training program in the U.S. and internationally by addressing three urgent national needs:

  1. Training an entrepreneurial workforce
  2. Bringing cutting-edge technologies to market and enabling positive economic impact
  3. Nurturing an innovation ecosystem

The vision of the Great Plains Hub is to connect the pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit of the Great Plains with the national deep-tech ecosystem through I-Corps programming. The mission will be realized by pairing university-based innovators with regional entrepreneurs and businesspeople (team mentors) using well-established I-Corps training principles. This Great Plains Hub will provide entrepreneurs with an immersive, eight-week experiential training program to prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory. This will accelerate the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded and other basic research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization.


Cross-hub synergies leading to a Great Plains inventor network will develop from this program, which will also become part of I-Corps’ National Innovation Network. This will extend the geography of innovation throughout the Great Plains, thus advancing scientific discoveries, commercialization, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem entirely within jurisdictions of another NSF program, Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

Immediate outcomes of I-Corps training include the development of an entrepreneurial mindset in the scientists and engineers who participate. Broader impacts of the Great Plains Region I-Corps Hub is the development of a regional network of university-based inventors and entrepreneurs and programming within the framework of rural America. This will accelerate the translation of federally-funded research into technology solutions that benefit society, enhance American independence, and create economic growth.

At Dakota State, Katherine Cota, Director of Economic Development, will serve as DSU's institutional lead; Dr. Michael Roach will be the faculty lead.

Cota said “this new program will build on the solid entrepreneurial foundation we have created at Dakota State through the Paulson Cyber Incubator & Entrepreneurial Center. We look forward to integrating our resources with those of our partners in the Great Plains hub.”

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