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Aug 30 -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) invites comments to OMB by October 17, 2022 regarding Reporting Requirements for the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Hubs Program.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-CorpsTM), herein known as I-Corps program, was established at NSF in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 to equip scientists with the entrepreneurial tools needed to transform discoveries with commercial realization potential into innovative technologies. The goal of the I-Corps Program is to use experiential education to help researchers reduce the time necessary to translate a promising idea from the laboratory to the marketplace. In addition to accelerating technology translation, NSF seeks to reduce the risk associated with technology development conducted without insight into industry requirements and challenges. The I-Corps Program uses a lean startup approach to encourage scientists to think like entrepreneurs through intensive workshop training and ongoing support.

In FY 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA), Public Law 114-329, Sec 601, formally authorized and directed the expansion of NSF I-Corps Program to increase the economic competitiveness of the United States, enhance partnerships between academia and industry, develop an American STEM workforce that is globally competitive, and support female entrepreneurs and individuals from historically underrepresented groups in STEM through mentorship, education, and training.

Under AICA, NSF has built and expanded the I-Corps Program through the National Innovation Network (NIN) model. NIN is a collection of NSF I-Corps Nodes and Sites that, together with NSF, implement the I-Corps program to grow and sustain the national innovation ecosystem. I-Corps Nodes are typically large, multi-institutional collaborations that deliver the NSF National I-Corps Teams training curriculum and recruit and train the National I-Corps instructors. I-Corps Sites are entrepreneurial centers located at individual colleges and universities that catalyze potential I-Corps teams within their local institutions. Together, the Nodes and Sites have served as the backbone of the NIN.

In 2020, NSF published the Program Solicitation, NSF 20-529, to formalize the launching of the NSF I-Corps Hubs Program, which further expands and strengthens the NIN. The I-Corps Hubs are designed to support inclusive, regional communities of innovators, in that teams are encouraged to recruit diverse members at all levels. In addition, the I-Corps Hubs Program also provides new pathways for teams to qualify for the participation in the National I-Corps Teams program. Through the I-Corps Hubs solicitation, NSF seeks to evolve the current NIN structure, into a more integrated model capable of sustained operation at the scope and scale required to support the expansion of the NSF I-Corps Program as directed by AICA.

Under AICA, NSF is directed to collect data and information pertaining to the characteristics, outputs, and outcomes from the teams as well as individuals funded by the NSF I-CorpsTM Program. The collection of this information will enable the evaluation of and reporting on the four themes as outlined in the FY 2021 NSF I-Corps Biennial Report to Congress:

1. Technology Translation
2. Entrepreneurial Training and Workforce Development
3. Economic Impact
4. Collaboration and Inclusion

Recently, NSF published a new I-Corps Hubs Solicitation, NSF 22-566, that supplants the now archived NSF 20-529. The new solicitation contains a set of modified grantee reporting requirements. In response to these modifications, NSF requests the revision of the previously cleared grantee reporting requirements under 3145-0258 to reflect the updates in NSF 22-566. NSF will modify the awards made under NSF 20-529 to comply with the new reporting requirements outlined in NSF 22-566 once this Paperwork Reduction Act request is approved by the OMB.

Under the new reporting requirements outlined in NSF 22-566, each Hub is required to provide data and documentation to demonstrate the progress of the six (6) required activities:

1. Team Expansion
2. I-Corps Training
3. Institutional Expansion of the Hub
4. Evaluation of Hubs
5. Entrepreneurial Research
6. Broadening Participation

The I-Corps Hubs Program Reporting Requirements have been designed primarily to meet our Congressional AICA reporting requirements.  In addition, the collection of these data serves several purposes, including:

-- Monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of the new funding and operational model
-- Tracking the progress of the NIN expansion and growth of the innovative ecosystem
-- Responding to Congressional requests and, inquiries from the general public, NSF's external merit reviewers who serve as advisors, and NSF's Office of the Inspector General
-- Supporting the agency’s policymaking and internal evaluation and assessment needs
Affected Public: Participants who complete the I-Corps Hubs Program. We projected no more than 1000 participants being trained per hub per year, and we are planning to have a total of 6-9 hubs awards (during the next 3 years), for an average of 6,000 respondents per year. The Record of Participation will be collected once from each participant; the Follow-up Survey will be sent to each participant one year after their I-Corps Program completion.  

Total responses: 6,000-9,000 entries per Hub during the course of 3 years. An entry is being defined as both the Record of Participation and the Follow-up Survey that will be sent out to each participant one year after completion of the Program.  
NSF I-Corps: https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/initiatives/i-corps
NSF submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202208-3145-003 Click IC List for survey instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FR notice inviting comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-18725 (While FRN was posted Aug 30, submission to OMB made Sept 16. 30 days=Oct 17)
For AEA members wishing to submit comments to OMB, the AEA Committee on Economic Statistics offers "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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