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Faculty Resources for Industry Partnerships

The College of Arts and Sciences Office of Industry Partnerships and Research Collaborations (OIPRC) helps researchers establish, maintain, and prosper from research-based industry relationships.   

Quick Guide for Faculty

  • Support for industry engagement and research collaborations
    Elizabeth Drotleff
    Director, ASC’s Office of Industry Partnerships and Research Collaborations
  • Support for non-research industry engagement and connecting to companies
    Cheryl Yeack
    Director, ASC’s Office of Industry Partnerships and Research Collaborations
  • ASC’s Sponsored Programs Officer for Business and Industry Contracts
    Chris Prince
    Sponsored Programs Office (SPO)
  • Technology Commercialization Office Licensing Team Lead for ASC
    Jay Dahlman
    Associate Director of Licensing
  • Support for ASC submissions of high-value federal grant proposals
    Kate Hayes-Ozello  
    Senior Research Development Specialist, Research Development Office

Why collaborate with industry?

Industry spends millions of dollars in research expenditures each year at Ohio State and industry investments in university collaborations continue to climb.  Industry funded projects provide diversification of faculty funding portfolios and additional value through exposure to market-facing challenges, student experiential learning, and the opportunity to see research results be commercially deployed.

Beyond funding, industry sponsored research provides additional value to our researchers in the form of exposure to real world problems and increased market knowledge, student experiential learning, and the opportunity to see research results be commercially deployed. 

We are here to help you capture this value.  

The College’s Office of Industry Partnerships and Research Collaborations (OIPRC) helps researchers establish, maintain and prosper from research-based industry relationships.   

With technical backgrounds and industry and business experience, we are well-equipped to help you navigate conversations with companies to elucidate their needs and illuminate your expertise. While you focus on the technical/scientific discussions with your industry partner, we discuss the business and process aspects of working with the university. We serve as a connection point between faculty and other university functions such as sponsored programs, technology commercialization, advancement and development, compliance, legal affairs, career services, and the corporate partnerships office. 

OIPRC provides support to faculty through educational seminars, 1:1 consulting, guidelines for creating an industry research proposal, and management of the College’s Technology Oversight Committee.   

Is your industry sponsor curious about how Ohio State structures research project budgets? We can talk to them. 

Does the company want to engage in research beyond your area of expertise? Send them to us! 

Are you wondering how to get a company to commit to a project? Pull us into the discussion. 

Are you getting questions about intellectual property and how a company can obtain IP rights? We have extensive experience explaining Ohio State’s IP access models and we are happy answer questions. 

Want to learn more about collaborating with industry? Contact Elizabeth for a 1:1 consultation or attend her seminar.   

The Technology Oversight Committee (TOC) is a group of dedicated college alumni, with extensive technology domain and business expertise. The TOC provides advice, support, and resources to PIs seeking guidance for their efforts to commercialize inventions.   

The TOC members provide:

  • advice on funding sources external to Ohio State  
  • advice on navigating VC’s and other investors  
  • feedback on the preparation of marketing materials  
  • introductions to TOC members’ key contacts to further the research and/or provide access to additional funding  
  • review of the technology’s “thumbnails” to send to the potential investors
  • advice on next steps once proof of concept is reached  
  • seed funding or investment  
  • advice on presentation content/partners for funding requests  
  • suggestions of industry partners the faculty member should seek out  
  • suggestions of market segments and applications  
  • advice on patent strategy  
  • 1:1 consultation outside of TOC meetings

Successes resulting from TOC input include Entrada and Zeovation.

Pre-Award Process Diagram


Please contact Elizabeth Drotleff at drotleff.4@osu.edu if you require the document in an alternative format.

Support offices and contacts

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for research administration at all stages of sponsored projects.  College faculty will work with a Sponsored Programs Officer (SPO) from the Office of Grants and Contracts (OGC) for projects funded by nonprofit organizations and government agencies. For industry sponsored research or testing/services projects, faculty will work with a SPO from the Office of Industry and Business Contracts (OBIC). SPOs can assist in proposal preparation and submission, negotiate contracts, track and receive sponsor payments, provide oversight for grants and contracts, handle purchasing and travel needs, and ensure compliance with sponsor and university requirements. Click here for a list of SPOs by department.   

PI Portal is the database OSP uses to track awards, sponsors, budgets, etc. by faculty name. 

The Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) in the Office of Innovation and Economic Development (OIED) manages Ohio State-owned intellectual property and moves the IP to commercialization by licensing to third parties or by creating an Ohio State startup.  Click here to view TCO’s Inventor Guide.   

The TCO database, Innovate is used to track faculty invention disclosures, patent applications, CDAs, MTAs, and license agreements.   

The Contracts team manages all CDA (Confidential Disclosure Agreement) and MTA (Material Transfer Agreement) requests.  

Confidentiality agreements (also known as Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs)) are necessary to implement when confidential information will be shared between Ohio State faculty or staff and an outside entity. Examples of confidential information are research/innovation ideas, unprotected intellectual property, data and results, and research plans. Under no circumstances should confidential information be shared outside the university without a CDA in place. A CDA cannot be signed by a PI. 

Contact the Contracts team if you want to know if a company has an active CDA with the university.  If the purpose of an existing, active CDA does not cover the discussions/communications you plan to have, then a new CDA must be executed.   

A MTA must be implemented when any material, for example, equipment, cell lines, chemicals, equipment, or samples, will be transferred INTO or OUT OF the university. The legal language in the MTA is meant to protect you, the university, and the user of the material. No materials should move in or out of the university without a MTA in place. Further questions can be answered by the Contracts team.

TCO Page of Resources

The Office of Compliance and Integrity manages all aspects of abiding by applicable laws, regulations, and policies as well as ensuring that the university community acts with integrity and within ethical boundaries. This includes conflict of interest management. The Office of Research Compliance supports and promotes ethical research practices and ensures that research is conducted in compliance with federal regulations, state and local laws, and university policies. The Office of Research manages export control regulations. Export Controls regulate the shipment or transfer of controlled items, software, technology, services, or information out of the US and, in specific cases, within the US. In the case of an industry sponsored research or testing/service project, the proposal must undergo export control review if the company and PI agree that the project results will not be published. Your SPO will facilitate this process. 

University policies and resources

“Background IP” is the intellectual property owned or controlled by the university that was created prior to the beginning of an industry sponsored research project. This could be intellectual property that was invented or created by the PI or by another researcher on campus. Your Sponsored Programs Officer (SPO) needs to know if BIP exists prior to negotiating the research agreement with the company.  If there are questions about the existence of BIP, the Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) should be consulted. The final determination of the existence of Background IP is made by the Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) of the Office of Innovation and Economic Development. 

Some questions to ponder when thinking about BIP: 

  • Have you submitted an invention disclosure to TCO that describes an invention(s) that is related to the work described in the proposal? 
  • Has Ohio State filed patents on inventions that could be related to the work described in the proposal? 
  • Do you know of other faculty at the university who are working in the same or similar area? 
  • Are you currently working on or have worked on projects that are similar to the work described in the proposal? 
  • Do you have inventions that have not been disclosed to TCO? 
  • Have you performed industry sponsored research for another company in this area but have not yet submitted invention disclosures to TCO and the work is similar to that described in the proposal? 

Answers to these questions need to be discussed with your SPO. If there are questions that remain, you and your SPO can discuss with your Licensing Manger in TCO. 

Ohio State offers industry sponsors several methods to obtain rights to or ownership of foreground intellectual property (IP). (“Foreground” refers to intellectual property created during the course of a project and within the proposal scope.) Under certain circumstances the Sponsor will not be offered all IP access options. Your Sponsored Programs Officer (SPO) will know which options are appropriate to include in the research agreement.

IP Access Models 

Option to negotiate a license
The Sponsor will have six months to review an invention and negotiate a license agreement with the Technology Commercialization Office for rights to use or own that IP. 

Non-exclusive rights
The Sponsor can opt to pay an upfront Technology Access Fee (TAF) (before the project starts) of 10% of the total project budget or a minimum fee of $6,000, whichever is greater, for non-exclusive rights to patentable foreground intellectual property. This fee is non-refundable. 

Assignment of foreground IP
The Sponsor can pay an upfront Technology Access Fee (TAF) of 25% of the total project budget or a minimum fee of $15,000, whichever is greater, for assignment (ownership) of the patentable foreground IP. This fee is non-refundable. 

The two Technology Access Fee options cannot be offered to a Sponsor if:  

  • Ohio State Background Intellectual Property will be used in the project 
  • The Sponsor is not paying the industry full-cost reimbursement rate (i.e. full Industry IDC rate) for the project. 
  • The project involves research in the health sciences and your SPO determines that the scope of the project warrants offering only the license negotiation option. 

TAF payments are distributed to the PI and designated TAF Researchers via Ohio State’s Intellectual Property policy, after the related research project has been closed 

The PI must disclose inventions to the Technology Commercialization Office.  

Indirect costs (IDC), also known as facilities and administrative costs (F&A), are the expenses associated with providing and maintaining the infrastructure that supports the research enterprise (maintenance, buildings, libraries, administration, etc.). 

Ohio State uses three primary IDC rates: government, industry, and clinical trial. 

Calculation of IDC for federally funded projects uses the government rate. Ohio State negotiates with the federal government to arrive at this rate. The government rate does not result in full-cost recovery so the university is essentially subsidizing each program sponsored by the government by using revenue from sources such as tuition or taxpayer funds.  

Calculation of indirect project costs for industry sponsored-research projects uses the industry IDC rate. This rate, mandated by the Office of Research, ensures full cost-reimbursement recovery. Using this rate means that the for-profit partner is bearing the actual costs of doing business with Ohio State and the university is not subsidizing the research.  

Calculation of IDC for clinical trials uses the clinical trial rate, which Ohio State has self-selected to be at a balance point that recovers these specialized expenses while being competitive in the marketplace. 

If your sponsor has questions about our IDC rate, you can direct them to Elizabeth or your sponsored programs officer (SPO) for answers and guidance. You are not responsible for explaining the university’s policies regarding indirect costs.

We advise that you do not discuss projected costs or a proposed budget with your sponsor without review and concurrence from your SPO. Doing otherwise may result in sharing a budget that has not properly accounted for additional fees such as intellectual property access rights or the correct indirect cost rate. Please note as well that companies do not typically expect line-item budgets, nor should we routinely provide them. 

The OSP website has more information about the budget preparation process. 

Opportunity – A brief clear statement of the Sponsor’s need. This can include why a solution to the problem is important to Sponsor and the benefits that Sponsor desires to see from the solution. 

Background – A short discussion of relevant previous work related to the need. This could be publications from your lab and/or additional literature that promote better understanding of your approach to the problem. 

Approach –  

  • Explanation of the objective/purpose of the research project. 
  • Detailed plan of how the research will be conducted. 
  • Description of how both parties will work together. 
  • Identification of technical risks and ways to address those risks.  
  • Description of equipment/materials that are to be used. 
  • Definition of deliverables. 

Schedule – Timeline of project steps as well as timing of communications (i.e. periodic updates by phone, email, and/or in person), intermediate goals, and final deliverables.   

Team – CVs are not necessary but a short description of each team member’s expertise as it relates to the work scope could be included. 

Additional information 

Development of the scope of work is an iterative process between the PI and the Sponsor. Expect the proposed scope to be exchanged several times as changes are made and until agreement is reached on the work plan, timeline, and deliverables. 

The proposed cost/budget should not be conveyed to Sponsor by the PI. Your Sponsored Programs Officer (SPO) will finalize the budget and will present the Sponsor with the final total project cost. Note that companies do not need to see a line-item budget, only the final cost. 

Any changes to the scope of work after the project has begun needs to be signed off  by OSP. Your SPO will calculate the additional expenses incurred because of the changes and relay that information to the Sponsor before both parties approve the amended scope and budget. You will also need to notify your SPO if Background Intellectual Property is involved in the new scope of work. This needs to be documented (per the research agreement) and the Sponsor needs to acknowledge that they understand BIP is part of the amended project.

Companies expect the project to stay within the scope. A Sponsor can terminate the project at any time and may do so if the PI veers away from the original work plan.   

Updates to the Sponsor should include an explanation of what has been accomplished, what still needs to be done, expected deliverables, and timeline. Make sure updates are delivered in the form requested by Sponsor (i.e. PowerPoint slides, written report, phone call, etc.). Companies understand that research is risky and positive results are not a given. It is best to announce a lack of success immediately followed by a discussion of how to overcome the failure.

The university encourages faculty, staff, and students to engage in the creation and dissemination of knowledge, including works of authorship, discoveries, inventions, patents, and tangible property that can serve the public through open academic exchange and commercial development. The university is committed to creating a culture and infrastructure that nurtures these activities and highlights the capacity of its faculty, staff, and students to advance the well-being of the people of Ohio and the global community through the creation and dissemination of knowledge. The university recognizes the importance of intellectual freedom and autonomy of faculty, staff, and students.

Read the policy

University-industry collaborations typically are defined as ‘research projects’ or ‘testing/service projects’.  Properly defining the type of project is important because it determines the legal agreement used to govern the relationship. Projects that are ‘open ended’ questions and have the possibility of resulting in foreground (new) intellectual property are considered research projects. The university maintains publication rights for research projects although the sponsor is provided with a review period during which confidential company information can be removed and patent protection can be requested. Projects that use established methodology to collect data or information without the creation of intellectual property are considered testing or service projects. If a company and a PI mutually agree to forego publication, the project work scope must undergo an export control review, through the Office of Secure Research (OSR), and a Technology Control Plan will be created by the university if needed. Your Sponsored Programs Officer will connect with an Export Controls officer if the PI agrees to forego publication of research results upon the request of the Sponsor. 

The university manages research projects and testing/service projects using different legal agreements. The correct agreement should be used to provide the right protections for you and the university and to provide appropriate rights to the company. If the company sponsor has questions about the university policy governing research and testing/services, please contact Elizabeth or your Sponsored Programs Officer.   

It is important that your Sponsored Programs Officer is aware of the type of project you are proposing to a company. One of the major differences between the two is that a research project could generate intellectual property while a testing or service project does not generate new intellectual property.   

Here are questions to help you determine if your project is research or testing/service: 

  • Is the sponsor’s problem/question an open ended question? If yes, then this is RESEARCH. 
  • Can the problem/question or need be resolved by simply collecting data or performing a service with no need to develop new protocols, offer design advice, or provide analysis of data/results? If yes, this is TESTING.  
  • Are any publications anticipated from the project? If yes, this is RESEARCH. 
  • Is the creation of new knowledge (besides only data) or intellectual property an anticipated outcome of the project? If yes, then this is RESEARCH. 
  • Will data be collected using established methods (i.e. no new methods will be created in the course of providing the solution)? If yes, this is TESTING. 

If you are working with a company on a testing/service project through an earnings unit, the agreement will go through the Research Portal and be approved by the Office of Legal Affairs, not through the Office of Sponsored Programs. 

Please refer to the Faculty Paid External Consulting policy which establishes guidelines and reporting requirements for paid consulting, external to the university, that is undertaken by faculty members, including administrators with faculty appointments, and that is related to their areas of professional expertise. Faculty need to fill out an external consulting approval form and have it approved by their chair and dean. 

The Triple Constraint is a negotiating tool that often is used when your industry partner objects to the cost of a project. 

If the project cost is too high, we can offer to reduce the scope of work (which will reduce the overall cost) or we can offer to extend the timeline of the project. For example, if limited funds are available in the company’s current fiscal year but more funds are available in the new fiscal year, the project could be timed to coincide with the advent of the new year. 

What we seek to avoid is allowing a Sponsor to pay a lower IDC (indirect cost) rate to reduce the project cost. Indirect costs pay for the infrastructure that is involved in doing research – maintenance of facilities, heat/AC, libraries, etc. Accepting a lower IDC rate means that the university is forced to subsidize the project for a for-profit company. 

In addition, the university will not offer the Technology Access Fee (TAF) model for intellectual property (IP) rights to industry partners who do not pay full cost recovery (i.e. full IDCs). Industry partners appreciate being given the opportunity to pay a single upfront fee to acquire rights to project IP. However, if the company is not paying full cost, they cannot take advantage of this progressive IP access model. 

Your Sponsored Programs Officer (SPO) is adept at negotiating with companies and countering their grumbles about project cost. Allow your SPO to take care of these conversations so you can focus on the scope of work.