Industry-Sponsored Research Week
Industry-Sponsored Research Management

Industry giving top marks for U Minnesota’s royalty-free licensing option


By David Schwartz
Published: April 18th, 2017

Listening to your customers is a key to success in virtually any field, and it is clear that the operators of the University of Minnesota’s MN-IP licensing program have put that principle to good use.

While their initial standardized licensing options in the program have proven very successful, the university recently introduced a third option. The original deal options — A and B – allow companies to pre-pay a portion of a research agreement in exchange for an exclusive license to the technology developed (Option A); or, alternatively, Option B requires no upfront fees and allows the company to work with the IP until it can more confidently negotiate an exclusive, royalty-bearing license. The new Option C grants a non-exclusive but royalty-free license to develop university IP in exchange for a small upfront fee.

“The genesis of MN-IP is making it easy for business to work with the university, and we are expanding that effort,” explains Rick Huebsch, associate director of the University’s Office for Technology Commercialization. “In the past some companies have said they did not prefer A or B (which are both exclusive), but wanted something different. It’s all based on listening to your customer,” he says.

“What Option C does is allow non-exclusive rights royalty free. We charge a little bit of an upfront fee and the sponsors basically get the freedom to operate.” Specifically, Option C calls for the pre-payment of 10% of a sponsored research agreement or $10,000, whichever is greater. The sponsoring company pays no royalties, annual minimums or other technology commercialization fees on the license. It also has the opportunity to negotiate an exclusive, royalty-bearing license at a later date.

Huebsch explains that some companies are willing to trade exclusivity for greater freedom. “Imagine a company sponsors some research and wants to make sure they have access to the IP but do not want to deal with royalties,” he posits. “[Options] A and B both have royalties; they just want freedom to operate, and do not care if others have access to it non-exclusively. Many companies have told us that if they sponsor research they should have access to [the IP] and never have to interact with the university, or license it.”

He believes some additional value is created through Option C. “We are trying to accommodate these sponsors while at the same time protecting the interests of the university,” Huebsch explains. “They have the option, within six months after reporting the IP, to convert to an exclusive.” While some industries prefer exclusive deals, he continues, he has seen those in software, semi-conductors and petrochemicals, for example, being less concerned about competition than royalties. “They feel they can out-execute their competition,” he observes.

As for the university, Huebsch says the new option not only expands the universe of potential partners but it also cuts down on the time it takes to negotiate a deal. “Traditionally, a company will talk to a professor and think ‘Great, I can sponsor that research,’” he says. “They agree to work together, and then they come to the university and its dealmakers and it takes forever. [In the past] there weren’t any kind of templates. Now, they can come and do sponsored research — pick one of these [options] and get going.”

A detailed article on the MN-IP program appears in the April issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and get the full article, and receive every monthly issue filled with expert guidance on building and managing your university’s corporate-sponsored research portfolio, CLICK HERE.

DON’T MISS THE MAY ISSUE OF INDUSTRY-SPONSORED RESEARCH MANAGEMENT

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming in the May issue – and when you subscribe now you get the $100-off Charter Rate of only $297, plus get three distance learning programs on best practices in sponsored research FREE! CLICK HERE for complete details.

Coming in May: How MSU has cut down its negotiation time for industry-sponsored research agreements • “Embedded” corporate researchers bring better partnerships • Universities embrace “universal SRA” • Oregon State’s Alternative Contracting Model offers prepaid option

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

NJIT President: Universities must embrace industry-directed research


By David Schwartz
Published: April 18th, 2017

Joel S. Bloom, president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, penned an interesting article that spotlights NJIT’s innovative approach to research involving industry partnerships. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Connecting University Research to Industry Funding Sources: Case Study of the Penn State Innovation Gateway


By David Schwartz
Published: April 18th, 2017

Penn State University’s Innovation Gateway — a new online platform that help researchers and industry research sponsors find each other — is being hailed as a major advance by faculty, corporate partners, and university administrators. The new platform provides a standardized way for faculty to present research approaches and possible solutions to industry challenges — and it gives industry a way to pose those challenges to university labs.

The Office of Industrial Partnerships, which created and manages the Innovation Gateway, says the tool “provides faculty with an unprecedented level of service” in building industry collaborations — a far cry from most universities’ informal and unstructured efforts that can only skim the surface of potential ties between thousands of research projects and the corporations that may have an interest in those investigations– along with the dollars to support them.

By capturing researcher interests and expertise, Innovation Gateway matches the researcher with relevant industry opportunities. At PSU, corporate partners who use the gateway gain access to over 5,000 researcher ideas that span 24 campuses.

To help you learn from PSU’s experience, Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division is presenting a case-study style webinar that will provide a deep-dive into the concept, development, funding and management of the Innovation Gateway and its curated list of potential partners.

Join us on May 16th for Connecting University Research to Industry Funding Sources: Case Study of the Penn State Innovation Gateway will offer a detailed look at drafting and negotiation strategies and best practices for addressing the structure, assignment and enforcement of preferential rights. Join us for this important webinar led by University of Utah Technology and Licensing Manager Beth Drees, PhD, MBA, and Dr. Antoine Bellemare, Technology Transfer Officer at Université Laval.

For details and to register, CLICK HERE.

ALSO COMING SOON:

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week, Webinars

Worcester Poly gets help from GE on new digital health research center


By David Schwartz
Published: April 18th, 2017

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, with a big assist from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and General Electric Co., will be constructing a new facility designed to test out new digital health care innovations. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Best Practices in Export Control Compliance


By David Schwartz
Published: April 18th, 2017

Under U.S. export control regulations, many common university research practices could put you at risk of thousands of dollars in civil or criminal fines or debarment from federal contracts. To help ensure you steer clear of these danger zones, we’ve created Best Practices in Export Control Compliance, a distance learning collection containing two critically acclaimed programs:

Export Control Update: Technology Transfer and the Boundaries of Fundamental Research, featuring compliance expert Jennifer Saak, PhD, export control expert with over 20 years experience, provides details on the latest regulatory changes along with real-world case studies of noncompliance and as well as best practice compliance efforts.

Deemed Export Compliance: A Workshop for University TTOs provides hands-on guidance and best practices for creating a deemed export compliance program and a thorough review of regulations and developments in export controls, including the I-129 visa application revisions and the implications of the Roth verdict.

For complete details, CLICK HERE >>

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week, Webinars

Lehigh University brings Silicon Valley closer to home


By David Schwartz
Published: April 18th, 2017

Lehigh University is known for its science and engineering programs, so it makes sense that several thousand of its alumni now work in Silicon Valley. But getting those alums to connect with their alma mater has not been easy. That’s why the Pennsylvania school recently launched a new partnership with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a San Francisco nonprofit affiliated with the stock exchange. The center aims to “educate, innovate, and connect aspiring and current entrepreneurs.” continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

An in-depth look at the influence of corporate funding in public universities


By David Schwartz
Published: April 11th, 2017

Research managers who have a little spare time might want to spend it with a lengthy treatise in the latest issue of The Atlantic that asks the question: Can academic researchers remain impartial if they are beholden to corporate money?

The piece begins with a look behind the scenes of meetings between researchers and potential corporate sponsors at the University of California-Davis, focusing on the non-disclosure agreements many companies require as a starting point of any discussions. Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at UC-Davis, described one meeting in which a company started out by passing around a document. “It was a 13-page agreement, and I refused to sign it,” Eisen says. “I said, ‘Look, there are 20 things in here I don’t understand and 15 things I completely disagree with. There’s no way I’m signing it.’”

The author, based on extensive research and many interviews, notes a trend toward increased access to researchers among corporate tech scouts. While many in academia say that industry funding is critical to continuing their research, others fall on the other end of the spectrum and dismiss any corporate influence as compromising scientific integrity. They contend that corporate backers may not try to influence study results, but they can tilt research in their direction in the design of those studies.

Some high-profile cases in which study results were called into question and widely criticized – such as a Hershey-backed study on the effects of sugar intake or a Coca Cola-backed study of obesity – have brought the issue to the forefront of public discourse.

The article also points to a near-total absence of industry or university guidelines for how corporate-funded research should be conducted and policed for bias.

Industry affiliate programs – fixed-fee arrangements that provide corporate partners with a range of range of benefits such as advisory board seats, early access to student résumés, private recruiting sessions, or access to campus meetings – are also spotlighted in the article.

Some schools – like Montana State University and its Center for Biofilm Engineering — advertise their programs. At the MSU center, corporate affiliates pay $24,000 a year to advise on research, specify deliverables, and have their products tested by university staff. “Advantages of directly funding project work at the [Center for Biofilm Engineering] include complete confidentiality and project direction by scientists and engineers at the top of biofilm investigation,” reads a brochure for the program. “We can offer confidential feedback on R&D direction, marketing ideas, or strategic decisions. Many of our members have found that this benefit alone is worth the annual membership fee.”

Virginia Tech has 30 such programs. The Atlantic article quotes one of them, in the Multifunctional Integrated Circuits and Systems Group, telling potential affiliates that “the university will, to the extent possible, take members’ suggestions into account in selecting research topics, adopting research methodology, and directing research activities in an effort to maximize use of membership fees.” Affiliates can opt for a basic $10,000 membership or a $40,000 arrangement that includes sponsorship of a graduate fellowship in which the student will “explore a research area that is of interest to the [sponsor].”

At Purdue, the Department of Food Science offers a $5,000 option that grants influence over “current and proposed curricula,” as well as an array of other benefits, from prepublication review to access to students and “potential consultants.” The author states that in September of last year every day featured at least on corporate visit to campus by companies like ConAgra, Nestle, Pepsi, and Dow Chemical.

Eileen Buss, a former director of one of Purdue’s industry-affiliates programs, says these programs are “controversial.” “It has an appearance, by paying a fee, of buying the researcher,” Buss says.

These issues will only become more common, given cuts in government research funding, the article notes, as more universities look to supplement that funding with industry deals.

Source: The Atlantic

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Next week: Webinar on drafting and negotiating preferential rights in IP licenses and SRAs


By David Schwartz
Published: April 11th, 2017

Preferential rights clauses allow customized access to IP assets and can be a significant negotiating point when drafting deals with research partners. But, if these provisions are improperly drafted or allocated in the license, you risk leaving dollars on the table — or even inadvertently giving away your future stake in the IP. Next Tuesday, April 18,

Drafting and Negotiating Preferential Rights in University IP Licenses and Sponsored Research Agreements will offer a detailed look at drafting and negotiation strategies and best practices for addressing the structure, assignment and enforcement of preferential rights. Join us for this important webinar led by University of Utah Technology and Licensing Manager Beth Drees, PhD, MBA, and Dr. Antoine Bellemare, Technology Transfer Officer at Université Laval.

For details and to register, CLICK HERE.

ALSO COMING SOON:

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week, Webinars

Stanford adds widgets on website that map IP and research connections


By David Schwartz
Published: April 11th, 2017

Stanford University’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) has introduced a new feature on TechFinder, its online technology transfer portal: embedded widgets that visually illustrate the connections between researchers, technologies, projects, publications, and patents.

The widgets, developed by Visible Legacy, use exclusive algorithms to map relationships and enhance user interaction and collaboration. The result is a highly interactive and automatically updated site where users can view and navigate the many research relationships comprising Stanford’s 2,300 active dockets.

“Incorporating Visible Legacy widgets and inclusion into an existing site such as our TechFinder adds visual presentation of information, enhances site navigation, disambiguates topics, and makes the site more ‘sticky’ by encouraging users to explore related projects and identify additional relevant researchers and innovations,” says Mary Albertson, OTL senior associate who manages TechFinder.

Visible Legacy, a company started by two Stanford alumni in 2010, provides visual information navigation services via embedded widgets. Co-founder Will Snow explains that the service uses a website’s publicly available information — lists of people, of projects, and of publications — to connect the dots of people, projects, and papers that are relevant to a patent.

With $2 billion of annual research funding, Stanford’s OTL has “been a pacesetter in promoting university research for industry and other kinds of collaborative connections with university innovations,” says Snow. It was a natural move for Visible Legacy, which had already digitally mapped the research work and careers of Stanford’s faculty, to create a smaller version of the mapping technology and embed it into the OTL site. “[Giving] potential licensees a better picture of other things that are going on in the university beyond just a specific technology … to see relationships, labs, and other inventors in a graphic way, made a lot of sense,” Albertson explains.

A detailed article on the TechFinder website appears in the April issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and read the full article, and get a full year of expert guidance and best practices devoted to building and managing corporate partnerships, CLICK HERE.

Get a full year of Industry-Sponsored Research Management for only $297 (you save $100), plus get a three-program distance learning collection of best practices FREE! CLICK HERE for details

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Industry partnerships help fuel Canada’s push to create artificial intelligence hub


By David Schwartz
Published: April 11th, 2017

Government funding and university-industry partnerships are creating a framework for Canada’s long-term vision to become a leading alternative to Silicon Valley in the field of artificial intelligence. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Research report: U.S. Federal Government Robotics Research Funding


By David Schwartz
Published: April 11th, 2017

The data-filled report U.S. Federal Government Robotics Research Funding examines research spending on robotics by all relevant federal agencies: NIH, DoD, NSF, NIST, DOT, NOAA, the national labs, the Congressional Robotics Congress, and more.

This detailed report provides data on the volume of grants and contracts obtained by major U.S. universities, university spin-offs, and private contractors. With the U.S. Federal Government Robotics Research Funding report you’ll get a “tour of the horizon” of robotics research funding, helping you understand which universities and private contractors are doing well in the fields of robotics and what the future funding landscape looks like from key government agencies.

For complete details, CLICK HERE >>

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

U Texas medical centers and Immune-Onc Therapeutics in partnership to develop novel cancer immunotherapy


By David Schwartz
Published: April 11th, 2017

Biopharma start-up Immune-Onc Therapeutics, focused on advancing promising immuno-oncology therapeutics, has signed an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, both part of the UT system. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week