Optics I-Corps Regional Course 

SPIE Optics & Photonics (San Diego, CA) 

August - September 2023

Course Overview

In this ~month long hybrid course (July 31 - September 1), a select group of researchers working on optics and photonics technology will "get out of their comfort zone" and talk to customers at the SPIE Optics & Photonics conference to identify the best product-market fit. The course begins online and culminates with a trip to San Diego, CA for SPIE Optics and Photonics. Up to $5,000 (depending on team size) in travel reimbursement funding will be available for accepted teams*.   

You may apply with a team of 1-3 people. Teams may not split attendance between members. Please only include the members of your team that will be fully participating in the course. All team members are required to attend and participate fully in every course session and complete all coursework. 

This is important for two reasons: 

1) Course learning is cumulative 

2) Only team members who personally complete the full course can be considered for NSF lineage and a nomination for national I-Corps Teams

Application Closes: Wednesday, July 5

Course Dates

Course opens for pre-course work:             Monday, July 31


Session 1:      Monday, August 7                  1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 2a:    Wednesday, August 9            TBD** 

Session 2b:    Friday, August 11                   1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 2c:    Monday, August 14                 TBD**

In-person in San Diego*

Session 3a:    Tuesday, August 22                8:00 - 10:00 AM

Office hours:   Tuesday, August 22                4:00 - 7:00 PM **

Session 3b:    Wednesday, August 23           8:00 - 10:00 AM

Office hours:   Wednesday, August 23           4:00 - 7:00 PM **

Session 5a:    Thursday, August 24               8:00 - 10:00 AM 


Session 5b:    Monday, August 28                 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM 

Session 6:      Friday, September 1               1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

*travel reimbursement only available for domestic travel. The NSF I-Corps program is intended for individuals within the US. **There will be scheduled office hours meetings with teams and instructors between sessions 1 & 2b, between 2b and 3a, sessions 3a & 3b, and 3b and 5a. Meeting times will depend on the availability of the teams and the instructors.
Application Questions

Please address: What does your technology do? How does it work? Why do you believe it is innovative?

Describe the customer need that you believe will be met by the proposed innovation.

Who needs your solution and is willing to pay for it?

Entrepreneurial Lead Information
The Entrepreneurial Lead could be a Post-Doctoral scholar, graduate or other student, or other personnel with relevant knowledge of the technology, who might like to lead the team in the I-Corps Teams national program. See here for more information.

N/A if no members of your team are students, faculty, staff, or researchers at a university.

N/A if your team is not affiliated with an incubator/accelerator.
Team Member Information
Please only include the members of your team that will be fully participating in the course in this section. 

Advisors and Other Colleagues

Research Study
If you are accepted into the I-Corps Regional Course, you will be invited to take part in a novel research project examining the effectiveness of the NSF Interior Northeast I-Corps' regional I-Corps courses.Participation in this study will involve completing online surveys. Each survey will take approximately 15 minutes. Your responses to the surveys will be anonymized and analyzed in aggregate format, and will be treated confidentially. Your participation in this study is voluntary. You may choose not to participate or to withdraw from the study at any time without penalty. There is no secondary use of your information.Disclaimer: Whenever one works with email or the internet there is always the risk of compromising privacy, confidentiality, and/or anonymity. Your confidentiality will be maintained to the degree permitted by the technology being used. It is important for you to understand that no guarantees can be made regarding the interception of data sent via the internet by third parties.If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please contact the researcher - Cristiano Bellavitis, at .

By selecting "Yes," you are agreeing to provide the National Science Foundation (NSF) and IN I-Corps Hub with data about your team, business activities, and agreeing to meet all regional course requirements below. We promise to use this data to fulfill our reporting requirements to our funders; any public reporting will be at an aggregated level that does not identify individual companies’ data or information. 1. All team members listed above will attend and participate fully in every course session. 2. All team members will complete the required coursework.                3. All team members can expect to spend ~30 hours on the course, including course sessions, assignments, and customer discovery interviews. 4. All team members will complete pre and post surveys from the Hub and NSF related to course assessment, demographic information and economic impact. While each team member is required to complete these surveys, there is always an option to answer with “I prefer not to answer”.