Boise State provides new research opportunities as an Innovation Corps hub member

Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

In October 2022, Boise State University became a recognized member of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps and received an award of $1,067,000. 

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency established by Congress in 1950 to support science and engineering across the country. The NSF Innovation Corps program was launched in 2011 to help “accelerate the process between research and commercialization”.

The NSF Innovation Corps has 10 regional “hubs” across the country that “work collaboratively to build and sustain diverse and inclusive innovation networks,” according to the NSF website. Boise State joined as a member of the Desert and Pacific Region hub. 

As a member, Boise State will put together teams made up of faculty, students and mentors from across the regional hub. These teams will then work to research the commercial potential of an innovation or idea of their choosing. 

“(Boise) is kind of isolated geography wise,” said Brett Adkins, director of the Office of Technology Transfer at Boise State. “We’re missing key components of entrepreneurship, so we’re helping to drive that entrepreneurial community because we are a small community and haven’t had as big an influx as west and East Coast cities.”

Adkins is the informal “project manager” for Boise State’s Innovation Corps program and collaborates with faculty from the College of Business and Economics and the College of Innovation and Design to create and educate the teams.

Boise State has the goal of putting together at least 10 research teams across Idaho each year going forward, but there is room for more if the demand is there, according to Adkins. 

Any member of the Boise State community with an idea or innovation that could potentially benefit the community is encouraged to participate.

“We’re super flexible on building the teams,” Adkins said. “We can take single students, we can take single faculty, or anyone with a direct BSU affiliation.” 

Other universities of the Desert and Pacific Region hub include the lead university Arizona State University, as well as Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, University of California San Diego, University of Hawaii, University of Idaho and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

[Photo of Boise State’s College of Innovation and Design.]
Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

In order to be accepted as an Innovation Corps member, Boise State had to apply by submitting a proposal to the National Science Foundation over the summer of 2022. In the proposal, Boise State was required to demonstrate the technologies and resources that it would be able to contribute to the program, according to Adkins.

When teams participate in Innovation Corps at a regional level, they each automatically receive $3,000 to research the marketability and potential of their innovation.  

“(Innovation Corps) allows our faculty, students or staff to learn entrepreneurship,” Adkins said.  “This methodology teaches how to write better grants, how to be a better speaker and how to be a better entrepreneur and gain the skills necessary to start a company.”

After completing their work at the regional level, teams will also be able to apply for a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation where they will continue researching and expanding upon their innovation. 

“For the national program they want deep technology, so science or engineering innovations,” Adkins said. “For our regional program, however, we are open to a new, better flavor of salad dressing. Or we can have an improvement to the next mousetrap.”

Training sessions for teams last four weeks with the first set to begin in February, but Boise State plans to hold two four-week sessions each semester and another over both winter and summer break. Those interested in joining or forming a team are encouraged to contact Brett Adkins at

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