ERC Faculty Win NSF iCorps Awards

Two current and former ERC faculty, Ellis Meng of USC's Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems ERC, and Michael Silevitch, Director of the Gordon-CenSSIS ERC at Northeastern University, won first-round iCorps awards in October 2011. Spanning a broad range of target products, geographic locales and research fields, iCorps teams receive guidance from private- and public-sector experts, participate in a specially designed training curriculum, and receive $50,000 to begin assessing the commercial readiness of their technology concepts.

The ERC teams receiving I-Corps awards were:


1157852 I-Corps: Establishing an innovation ecosystem for technology transition of MEMS-based drug infusion pumps Principal Investigator: Ellis Meng (; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.


1158744 I-Corps: MySkinTone: A breakthrough technology and product for skin melanin evaluation Principal Investigator: Michael Silevitch (; Northeastern University, Boston, Mass.

In March 2012, the National Science Foundation selected 25 teams for the second round of NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) awards. Two of those awards went to faculty at current and graduated ERCs (Basil Nikolau, at CBiRC; and Pietro Perona, at Caltech’s CNSE, respectively).

"Earlier I-Corps teams are well on their way to commercializing their technologies," said I-Corps program officer Errol Arkilic. "A number are already building their teams and new partnerships, and they are obtaining license agreements and negotiating third-party financing."

The I-Corps program selects up to 25 teams on a quarterly basis to assess the commercial viability of their previously-supported basic research. The ERC teams receiving second-round I-Corps awards were:

Novel Bio-Based Chemical Feedstocks for the Polymer Industry Basil Nikolau (; Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC); Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Combining Machine Vision and Crowdsourcing for Convenient and Accurate Image Annotation Pietro Perona (, Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering; California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.