The University of Alabama recently launched a way for automotive manufacturers, and other enterprises – to get complex research done, on a sponsorship basis, and retain some of the intellectual property that’s eventually created.
Called the Tide Research Partnership Program, it aims to strengthen research and development partnerships with industry, while accelerating opportunities for students to work on solutions to some of society’s most challenging problems.
The program encourages companies to sponsor research opportunities at UA. Upfront costs are set for exclusive rights to possible intellectual property created by UA researchers while also increasing the percentage that inventors receive of future royalty payments.
“This new program encourages faculty participation and provides the direct opportunity for our faculty and students to benefit from strong research partnerships with industry,” said UA President Stuart Bell. “We believe this program will contribute to a fundamental change in the way industry interacts with UA that will extend well beyond any single research project.
The Tide Research Partnership Program allows a company an option to pre-pay a fee when executing a sponsored research agreement in exchange for exclusive worldwide rights to inventions that may result from the research. Under the agreement, a portion of the upfront fee goes to the academic division and academic department that are part of the agreement, along with a portion that is shared with the principal inventor(s) on the project.
UA gets 1 percent in royalties when the net sales of commercialized products using the technology exceed $10 million annually. Resulting royalties received from commercialized technologies will be shared per UA’s standard policy, except inventors will receive a larger percentage of royalty payments after expenses than in a traditional agreement.
Companies can still choose the traditional option of negotiating a royalty-bearing licensing at the time of an invention. This program does not apply to research funded through government or non-profit organizations. Licensing of intellectual property that receives federal funding is subject to other terms.