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2020 CSU Innovation Corps Summer Sprint


A week-long, experiential opportunity to explore biotechnology commercialization, inc​luding an unprecedented opportunity to learn from biotechnology industry professionals at BIO 2020, the largest international biotechnology confer​​ence. Check out the B​IO 2020 conference webpage for more information!

​​​​​​See the 2019 syllabus here for an idea of what you'll learn.


 June 8-12, 2020 (Monday – Friday; move-in Sunday afternoon/evening)


 San Diego, CA. Activities will be held at San Diego State University and at BIO 2020 (San Diego Convention Center).


CSU faculty, student and/or staff researchers. If you are interested in learning about life sciences commercialization – Summer Sprint is for you!

Applicants must have hands-on, biotechnology-related research experience. CSUPERB defines biotechnology as a fusion of biology and technology. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) lists biotechnology examples, applications and sectors.  CSUPERB welcomes and encourages applications from CSU faculty, student and staff researchers working in all disciplines related to the current practice of biotechnology, including but not limited to life sciences, physical sciences, clinical sciences, math, computer science, agricultural science engineering, and/or business.


Successful applicants will receive travel reimbursement, BIO 2020 registration, lodging and meals during Summer Sprint.

After Summer Sprint, teams have an opportunity to win $1000 microgrants to further investigate their research-based commercialization ideas. Successful teams will also earn consultations with the Tech Futures Group to plan out next steps and map out commercialization milestones for follow on fund-raising, as well as becoming eligible for the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Teams program ($50,000 grants).

How to Apply 

Apply as a team member or an individual. Applications are due Friday, April 17 by 5 pm pacific time. Keep reading for more details below!

Teams: A team can consist of a mix of CSU faculty, student and/or staff researchers (3-4 people)If the team consists of CSU students only: one team member must be a business student. Please note: biotechnology research experience is not required for the business student team member! Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate as CSU I-Corps team members.

Individuals: An individual CSU faculty, student and/or staff researcher can apply. Selected individuals will be organized into teams during the workshop.


If you have questions about CSU I-Corps Summer Sprint, your eligibility, the application, or the selection process, contact Christine Montgomery at CSUPERB (rmontgomery@sdsu.edu; 619-594-1203) or contact the CSUPERB program office (csuperb@sdsu.edu; 619-594-2822).

Quotes from previous Summer Sprint participants:

“They ask for your full undivided attention for a full week (or two) for a reason. You get out as much as you put in!"

“Since our team has been working together in a lab for at least a year, it was easier for us to communicate and speak up about what we felt was right."

“Keep eyes and ears open all the time to absorb as much as you can during the program. You will get to know a lot by analyzing your own team, other participating teams, and the inputs from the faculty team. It's a great opportunity to learn the basics of evidence-based entrepreneurship and be able to apply it right away. I will strongly recommend giving your 100% when you participate and see the difference (in you as an individual and your team) at the end of the program."

“This type of summer sprint will be very beneficial for business students who wish to pursue a career in bio-technology. However, the basic principles learnt are applicable to any new business start-up. I highly recommend undergoing such training. The valuable addition to my knowledge, experience, and the confidence in terms of certain concept implementation was significant."

“Our team chemistry was undeniable. Every member respected each other's opinions which led to very fruitful discussions and activities. Having one of our team member's be an MBA student also helped significantly given that the other two members were more technically savvy. Our industry mentor also had a big effect on our success. He had a very good network in the field as well as very relevant experience in entrepreneurship."

“Because we were all very knowledgeable about the science, we were able to pivot easily to a new approach (but same science) as well as explain our technology effectively."

“I just wanted to emphasize my tremendous personal growth (academically and entrepreneurial); as a full professor you would think learning is only in small quantities at a time. However, the “total immersion" style of the Summer Sprint allowed me to grow by “leaps and bounds!"

“Be ready to work a lot, be ready to talk to a lot of people, take criticism and use it constructively."

2020 Summer Sprint Details

CSU I-Corps Summer Sprint will start 8 am Monday morning, June 8, 2020, and end at 4 pm Friday, June 12, 2020.

Summer Sprint will be full-time (>8 hrs/day), immersive, and intense.  I-Corps courses nationwide create entrepreneurial experiences “with all the pressures and demands of the real world" – so expect a participatory, fast-paced, high-energy workshop. The summer sprint requires full-time teamwork, leaving very little time to explore San Diego or sit on the beach.

Participants work with industry professionals to learn about biotechnology commercialization, grow professional networks, and explore entrepreneurial opportunities that build on basic research. Industry mentors (IMs) will be matched with Summer Sprint teams.

Summer Sprint Learning Objectives

  • Experience working with a team to identify problems and propose solutions
  • Learn about evidence-based entrepreneurship as taught by NSF I-Corps™ nodes and sites nationwide
  • Apply evidence-based entrepreneurship concepts via customer discovery
  • Gain familiarity with life science commercialization concepts
  • Grow and build off-campus professional networks
  • Present lessons learned to a panel of industry experts

Application Details

Applications are due Friday, April 17 by 5 pm pacific time.

Due to the Easter holiday, note applications are due on a Friday, not the usual CSUPERB Monday deadline day.

The CSU I-Corps 2020 Summer Sprint Application form is available online.

  • If applying as a team, each team member still must submit an application. Team applications will be grouped by team name. (The first question in the team member application will be: "What is your team name?")
  • All student applicants must email a signed 2020 Summer Sprint Certification Form from a CSU faculty mentor to CSUPERB (csuperb@sdsu.edu) by Friday, April 17 by 5 pm pacific time. Download 2020 Summer Sprint Certification Form.

Selection Criteria

Only complete applications received by the application deadline will be reviewed.

Applicants do NOT need previous commercialization experience, a developed venture concept, or any protected intellectual property in hand. Summer Sprint is designed specifically for curious researchers and nascent academic entrepreneurs.

Applicants will be selected based on:

  • the applicant's ability to submit a complete application received by the deadline,
  • the applicant's biotechnology-relevant research background,
  • a desire to learn about biotechnology commercialization, and
  • the applicant's availability and commitment to participate 100% in scheduled activities.
  • For Team Applications Only: a clear connection between the team's commercialization idea and a CSU-based research group
  • The CSU I-Corps Teaching Team may decide to interview applicants before final selection.

All applicants should save Summer Sprint dates before applying. If a team member becomes unavailable for Summer Sprint, the CSU I-Corps Teaching Team might ask the team members to participate as individuals instead.

Selection decisions will be made the first week of May so that Summer Sprint participants can make travel arrangements and block calendar time. Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by email. 

If you have questions about CSU I-Corps Summer Sprint, your eligibility, the application, or the selection process, contact Christine Montgomery at CSUPERB (rmontgomery@sdsu.edu; 619-594-1203) or contact the CSUPERB program office (csuperb@sdsu.edu; 619-594-2822).