Texas A&M I-Corps project explores testing air emissions with drones


Drone -project -768x 521A team of Texas A&M University engineers has been accepted into the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, which is managed by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) of Mays Business School.

I-Corps™ is a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects. 

The latest Texas A&M team to receive the funding is from the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering. The team is made up of Dr. Andrea Strzelec (principal investigator), Brian Musslewhite (entrepreneurial lead) and Dr. Dale Cope (industry mentor). This team’s innovation to be tested is a miniaturized emissions sensor that is mounted on a drone that can be deployed to difficult and/or dangerous locations to analyze the existing environment. Strzelec has served as PI on a previous I-Corps team and recognizes the high value of this training and how it impacts her research.

The CNVE has played a key role in team formation, guidance and mentoring of the team.

I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that solicits three-member teams – composed of an academic researcher, a student entrepreneur and an industry mentor – to participate in an intensive seven-week program to determine commercialization opportunities for their innovations. Selected I-Corps teams are receive $50,000 in NSF grant funding to support their efforts in the combined on-site and online curriculum, which is based on the Lean LaunchPad Methodology for business model validation.

CNVE maintains a dedicated I-Corps program that is focused on discovering, recruiting and encouraging scientists and engineers to participate in this program which is designed to discover the true commercial capabilities of research innovations. Charles (Chuck) Hinton leads the CNVE’s efforts as part of the Southwest I-Corps Node (http://swicorps.org), one of seven national partnerships of universities funded by NSF to support I-Corps expansion. Texas A&M, UT-Austin, Rice University and Texas Tech University share responsibilities for promotion of this high-impact program and recruitment of I-Corps Team applicants.

At Texas A&M, 11 teams with grants totaling $550,000 have been assembled from the colleges of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Engineering and Science, as well as Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Prairie View A&M, Texas A&M Health Science Center specializing in biochemistry, computer science, material science, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, physics, biomedical engineering, electrical & computer engineering, biological and agricultural engineering, entomology, and environmental and occupational health.

About CNVE: Through a combination of entrepreneurial-focused curricular and experiential opportunities, the CNVE seeks to enhance the livelihood of Texas A&M University and the greater community. Since its inception in 1999, the CNVE has served as the hub of entrepreneurship for Texas A&M University.