Academia and industry represent two very different environments with contrasting values and cultures, but the two can collaborate in research and produce significant benefits. A variety of relationships between the two parties is possible, examples of which appear further below.
As university researchers increasingly enter into such research collaborations with industry, it is important that those involved – faculty, students, academic visitors and collaborators, and their industry partners – understand and appreciate the intellectual property rights and obligations that each assume. With every negotiation, TTIC strives to ensure that these rights and obligations are clearly explained to all involved parties, and furthermore that they are fair and in accordance with university policies.
Sponsorship of research by industry is the most frequent form of research relationship seen at the university. Typically, the corporate sponsor provides funding for a specified statement of work during a limited period of time. Deliverables such as reports, test data, software, or materials may also be specified for the sponsored project.
Generally, the university is obligated under the federal regulations and its own intellectual property policies to claim ownership to any and all intellectual property resulting from such research. However, Tufts will offer a royalty-free license to sponsors of research to use any resulting intellectual property for internal purposes, as well as an option to negotiate an exclusive, royalty-bearing license for commercial purposes.
Many companies have taken advantage of the School of Dental Medicine’s ability to conduct clinical trials to test the viability of new products. Such testing arrangements serve as an important step towards developing products that are commercially successful.
Consulting arrangements are typically implemented between faculty members and industry without direct university involvement. TTIC is, however, available as a resource to review any consulting agreements and advise faculty members with respect to the issues surrounding such arrangements. Faculty members should refer to individual school policies regarding the need for pre-approval of consulting arrangements by a dean or department chair.