Reducing the burden of cancer will require creativity, innovation, and faster translation of scientific knowledge into practical applications. SPRINT is a training program that leverages the experience and structure of the NSF I-Corps™ program, but is customized specifically for cancer prevention and control interventions. ​ 

The program provides real world, hands-on training on how to successfully transform cancer control innovations into market-ready products. The ultimate goal is to create research-tested behavioral interventions that are ready to be put into real world practice.


The SPRINT curriculum was developed by successful technology entrepreneurs who also lead the training. Participants in the SPRINT program engage extensively with experts in industry. Over the course of several weeks, you will talk to a minimum of 40 partners, competitors, and other market stakeholders. During this time, you will be seeking a solid product-market fit and building a viable business model for your innovation.

Course Structure

Selected teams will participate in an 8-week training program, which consists of a three-day in-person meeting that officially kicks off the course, weekly online meetings, and a two-day in-person closeout meeting. There will also be two introductory webinars before the kick-off meeting to help orient participants to the course.

What can SPRINT teams expect?

  • 8 weeks of training on adapting and translating interventions into real-world settings. They get individualized guidance and mentorship to hone their idea and perfect their pitch.
  • Receive an award of $21,750 to cover team travel to in-person training sessions and any expenses incurred during the “discovery” phase of the training. Note: recovery of indirect costs shall be limited to $6,750.
  • Participate in weekly online workshops and come to NCI Shady Grove Campus for in-person meetings at the beginning and end of the program
  • Present weekly updates on their project, actively engage during the webinars, and prepare a short video for the close-out meeting on how their intervention/concept has evolved during the training.
  • Opportunities to refine their intervention idea and receive feedback on how to move forward with dissemination or commercialization.
  • Identify a potential market for their behavioral intervention and gain an appreciation for what it takes to commercialize interventions and the barriers to adoption.
  • Meet with a minimum of 40 potential customers/stakeholders. Note: there is a significant time commitment required for interviews and face-to-face engagement is strongly encouraged.
  • Gain skillsets that can be applied in many situations, including making research more "stakeholder" focused and commercially viable from the outset.
  • Save time and money by gaining a better understanding of the real value of their intervention from a market perspective.
  • Get networking opportunities for participants.
  • Deliver a final report to detail all of the work conducted under this award.

Who is eligible?

NCI-funded investigators with either a currently active R01 grant (that is at least in year 2) or an R01 that was completed after January 1, 2014 are eligible to apply. The focus of the R01 grant must be on the design, testing, delivery and/or implementation of an intervention or tool to advance cancer prevention and control.

What makes a team?

  • Teams can be made up of two to four members.
  • Each team must have a Principal Investigator (PI), who is the primary researcher or inventor behind the behavioral intervention.
  • Teams must also have an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL). The EL is often a graduate student or post-doc who is highly committed to the project.
  • Both the PI and EL will be expected to conduct customer discovery interviews and to participate in all in-person and virtual meetings. They should think of this as a “half-time” job during the two months of the program.
  • Teams can also include one additional Co-investigator (optional).
  • While not required for program participation, teams are strongly encouraged to include a Mentor (M) on their team. A Mentor should be an experienced entrepreneur or business executive.
  • At least one member of the team must be willing to commit 20% of their time to the training program, at a minimum.


Last Updated
February 25, 2021