National Science Foundation: I-Corps Teams Grant

Award Date: April 2013


ANN ANDERSON, Agnes S. MacDonald Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and MARY CARROLL, Professor of Chemistry, have been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Teams program.  The interdisciplinary aerogel group at Union has been funded by NSF since 2002; this new grant will allow them to study the feasibility of commercializing their patented rapid supercritical fabrication method for making aerogels. As part of the grant they have formed a three-person core team to participate in a series of I-Corps workshops. Union’s I-Corps Team comprises PI Anderson, Mentor Bahram “BK” Keramati, GE Global Research (retired), and Entrepreneurial Lead José Eduardo Madero Muñoz ’12. Other people involved with the project include co-PI Carroll, Professor Brad Bruno of the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Union alumni Lauren Brown (’11) and Michael Newell (’74).

The NSF I-Corps is a program designed to broaden the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects by preparing scientists and engineers to focus beyond the laboratory.  Leveraging experience and guidance from established entrepreneurs and a targeted curriculum, I-Corps grantees learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from NSF-supported academic research.  The Union team is one of 42 teams selected from a group of over 270 applicants and is one of the first undergraduate institutions to take part in the program.