Contract Continuum

At Georgia Tech, investing in research is a top priority. As part of that commitment, the university has developed four contract mechanisms that enable industry to engage with Georgia Tech researchers at all stages of R&D. These agreements were carefully crafted to streamline the contracting process and provide straightforward intellectual property terms for companies engaging in collaborative research. The four contracting mechanisms are as follows:

  • Basic Research: Explore fundamental challenges in a technical area
  • Applied Research: Identify solutions to real-world challenges
  • Demonstration: Improve an existing technology
  • Specialized Testing: Test new and existing products

The four contract mechanisms are described in detail below.


Explore fundamental challenges in a technical area
As one of the nation’s top research universities, Georgia Tech is committed to conducting basic research that advances our fundamental understanding of the world. This form of research is typically driven by scientific questions that lay the foundation for technological progress.When Georgia Tech collaborates with industry via a Basic Research agreement, the industry partner has the opportunity to license the resulting intellectual property (IP). These early collaborations are often the foundation for new products that spur business growth for a company.

Identify solutions to real-world challenges
The Applied Research agreement enables Georgia Tech researchers to help industry partners explore the viability of a technology and overcome practical challenges. Under an Applied Research agreement, the company pays a defined fee to gain access to IP that is generated during the project. The company obtains rights for exclusive access to the IP for a specified period of time within a defined field of use. This enables industry partners to develop and launch a product with very low risk, gaining a first-mover advantage. After the exclusivity period is over, the company can 1) extend the exclusive rights or 2) convert to a non-exclusive license.Georgia Tech offers expertise and state-of-the-art equipment that can be leveraged in the final stages of development to test products and help a company ensure that they are market-ready.

Improve an existing technology
For industry partners working on product development, the Demonstration agreement enables Georgia Tech researchers to help a company improve existing technology. The Demonstration agreement offers a straightforward and advantageous intellectual property policy for industry partners.Simply put, when a company introduces background IP under a Demonstration project, the company shall have exclusive rights to any improvements at no additional cost. For companies that have licensed a Georgia Tech innovation, any improvements to the licensed IP shall be incorporated into the terms and conditions of the original licensing agreement.

Test new and existing products
The Specialized Testing agreement provides a cost-effective and secure way for companies to access this equipment without making a large capital investment. This work is often instrumental in enabling a successful product launch.The Specialized Testing agreement also offers a straightforward intellectual property policy for industry partners. The sponsoring company will own all test results.

If you are interested in learning more about Georgia Tech’s contract mechanisms or intellectual property terms, please review our FAQs or contact us.