Energy I-Corps Preparation Course open to Fermilab employees; begins June 16

Argonne will be holding an Energy I-Corps Preparation Course beginning Wed., June 16 and Fermilab employees are invited to register. The course is aimed at scientists and engineers who are interested in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, but who do not have the time to attend the full Energy I-Corps* training course. The course will help participants gain familiarity with the basics of technology commercialization, Lean Launch and a new way of thinking about the impact of research.

The Energy I-Corps Preparation Course is based on the same material as the Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Practicum (the Fermilab Practicum) offered at Fermilab the last two years (Cohorts 1 and 2). For this year, Argonne and Fermilab combined efforts into one program serving both labs. Fermilab participants who sign up to attend the entire Argonne course (seven classes) will be enrolled as Cohort 3 of the Fermilab Practicum. As a member of Cohort 3, you will be provided a task code for reporting time to participate in the Argonne course (prep time and class time); have access to supplemental learning opportunities that will be offered by the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer (OPTT); and receive a certificate of completion for the Fermilab Practicum.

The virtual course consists of a series of seven classes, which will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. CT on successive Wednesdays. Registration is required. Class titles and dates are as follows:

  • Introduction to Energy I-Corps (6/16)
  • The Business Model Canvas: A Tool for Developing a Commercialization Plan (6/23)
  • Product Market Fit: Is There a Market for Your Technology? (6/30)
  • Customer Discovery: Apply the Scientific Method to Technology Commercialization (7/7)
  • Market and Competitive Analysis: Who Else is Out There? (7/14)
  • Technology Transfer and Commercialization at a National Laboratory (7/21)
  • Energy I-Corps Success Stories and Follow-On (7/28)

Participants do not need to attend all seven classes, but it is recommended. Although some classes (particularly 2, 3 and 4) build on each other, each class is self-contained and will deliver value to all attendees.

Goals of the course are to:

  • Increase the impact of lab technology by providing researchers with tools to explore possible end uses
  • Increase innovation at the labs that results in commercial sector deployment
  • Introduce concepts that allow lab scientists and engineers to communicate effectively with any customer (program managers, sponsors, private sector, lab management)
  • Increase effective engagement between the labs and industry

The course will be taught jointly by David McCallum, New Program Capture Manager in Argonne’s office of Science and Technology Partnerships and Outreach , and Melissa Byrn, Director of Innovation Programs at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago. There will also be guest speakers who will address particular aspects of technology commercialization and the Energy I-Corps process.

For more information, please contact Cherri Schmidt (


*Energy I-Corps is an intensive two-month training course where national lab researchers define technology value propositions, conduct customer discovery interviews and develop viable market pathways for their technologies. Researchers return to the lab with a framework for industry engagement to guide future research and inform a culture of market awareness within the lab.