FAQs for Researchers

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Industry Collaboration

Where can I find forms and agreements online?show

The forms and agreements needed for sponsored research are available on the Industry Engagement site, including non-disclosure agreements, material transfer agreements, and export control forms. View our forms and agreements page to download the materials you need.

Where should I submit my proposal?show

All sponsored research proposals — domestic and international — should be submitted via e-mail to the Office of Industry Engagement.

How long does the process take?show

The length of time from the submission of a proposal to notification of the award varies. The entire process for establishing a new sponsored research project based in the U.S. — from the day you submit your proposal until the day when you can begin work — typically requires approximately 60 days. The process for international research often takes a bit longer. If a project is unusually complex (due to multiple sponsors, complex intellectual property terms, etc.) or the sponsor wants to negotiate changes to Georgia Tech’s standard proposal, the process can take longer. In these cases, several months of negotiations may be required before work can begin.

Who will own the intellectual property resulting from sponsored research?show

To better understand the assignment of intellectual property developed by researchers at Georgia Tech, please see the Institute’s Intellectual Property policy.

Through the Contract Continuum, the university has developed four types of agreements for industry-sponsored research:

  • Basic Research Agreement for exploring potential solutions in a broad subject area
  • Applied Research Agreement for identifying solutions to targeted problems
  • Demonstration Agreement for developing incremental improvements for an existing technology
  • Specialized Testing Agreement for evaluating new and existing products

The Contract Continuum makes it easier for industry to engage with university researchers at any point in the R&D process, from early stage research to product launch. This collection of research agreements offers straightforward intellectual property (IP) terms and streamlined contract negotiation.

In general, for inventions that result from industry-sponsored research, Georgia Tech will normally grant an option to the sponsor so that they may pursue a license for the technology, if they desire. In cases where joint inventorship results from collaborative agreements with industrial sponsors or when improvements are made to a company’s background invention, terms are negotiated as appropriate.

If Georgia Tech is a subcontractor to an industrial firm under a federally funded program, Georgia Tech will still own the IP, however the federal government is granted non-exclusive rights for government use only. For additional information about patent, copyright, and licensing policies, please contact us.

What is the best way to find an industry partner?show

The best way to find an industry partner is to leverage your existing networks through institutional and professional organizations. For example:

  • Your colleagues may have experience working with a corporate partner.
  • The Office of Development may be able to connect you with Georgia Tech alumni who work at the company.
  • Career Services may be able to connect you with recent Georgia Tech graduates who work at the company.
  • Participation in professional associations can lead to industry contacts and networking opportunities.

For more ideas on how to connect with industry partners, please review the Researcher Guidebook.

Are there buildings on campus that can not be used for applied research projects? show

When Georgia Tech researchers engage in applied research, certain building restrictions apply. Specifically, there are limitations on the type of research that can be performed in buildings that have been financed by tax-free bonds, due to IRS restrictions. To learn more, please review this list of approved buildings for applied research.

Does the Office of Industry Engagement manage federally funded research grants?show

No, Industry Engagement does not manage research grants made by U.S. federal agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, etc.). If the prime award is federal, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs. Also, please note that gifts to the university, whether they be restricted or unrestricted, are not considered sponsored research projects and they are not processed through the Office of Industry Engagement. Gifts to the university are handled by the Office of Development. Industry Engagement does manage the following sponsored research programs:

International Research

How is the proposal development process different for international vs. domestic research?show

The proposal development process for international sponsored research follows the same process used for domestic sponsored research, with one notable exception. International research projects must comply with export control laws. Please note that the export control adds at least 3-5 business days to the proposal development process. The export control process must be completed before the research proposal can be shared with the sponsor. Therefore, it is critical that Georgia Tech researchers submit their proposals to the Office of Industry Engagement at least 3-5 days in advance of the project’s submission deadline to allow sufficient time for export control review.

The Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restrict the export of certain technology or technical data overseas and to foreign nationals working in or visiting the United States. Researchers at Georgia Tech must be aware that there may be restrictions on the transfer of items and/or information that is regulated for reasons of national security, foreign policy, anti-terrorism, or non-proliferation. In some circumstances, Georgia Tech may be required to obtain prior approval from the appropriate agency before collaborating with a foreign company or foreign nationals.

To learn more, visit the Industry Engagement export control page.

How long does the process take?show

The process of establishing a contract with a non-U.S. company typically takes longer than the process for domestic sponsored research. International research can involve more complex legal, regulatory, and procedural issues. At times, cultural matters may influence time to negotiation, and time zone issues can prolong negotiations as well. For all these reasons, researchers can expect the process to take 60-90 days.

Will Georgia Tech accept payment in currency other than U.S. dollars?show

Due to fluctuations in exchange rates, Georgia Tech prefers to accept payment in U.S. dollars. In the extraordinary circumstance that Georgia Tech accepts payment in non-U.S. dollars, a letter is required from the researcher’s school chair stating that the school will take responsibility for any deficiency in funds that may arise due to fluctuations in the exchange rate. Because of the complexities of these international collaborations, it is not uncommon for the university to request advance payment from foreign sponsors.

How is the Fundamental Research Exclusion relevant to my project?show

Fundamental Research is defined by the National Security Decision Directive 189 (NSDD189) as “basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons.” Research projects that qualify as Fundamental Research are not subject to export control laws and regulations. This is known as the Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE). In order to qualify for the FRE, the research must be carried out openly and without any publication restrictions and without any access or dissemination restrictions. Any restriction of Georgia Tech’s right to publish research results removes the FRE and renders the project subject to export controls. If a sponsor is given the right to pre-approve publications, to remove information from publications (other than the sponsor’s own confidential information), or to delay publication for an extended period of time, these are considered publications restrictions, and the FRE will not apply. Limited time delays in publication to allow sponsors to review publications or file for patent applications are acceptable and do not negate the FRE. If a research project is not eligible for the FRE, a technology control plan and/or technical assistance agreement (export license) may be required to perform the research.

Technology Commercialization

How do I report an innovation?show

The Office of Industry Engagement’s new online Web Disclosure system allows for secure online submission of innovations by faculty, staff, and students. Anyone with Georgia Tech Kerberos credentials can log in and access Web Disclosure to report an invention disclosure. Industry Engagement has also developed step-by-step guided tutorials to help researchers submit invention disclosures online.

I have intellectual property with potential for commercialization. Where do I begin?show

Commercializing your innovation begins with an initial disclosure to the Office of Industry Engagement. Through this process, Industry Engagement can record the innovation, determine what form of intellectual property is involved, establish accurate inventorship and ownership interests in the innovation, and determine through various means of evaluation whether the innovation has commercial potential. If you have developed something that you believe to be novel, you should report it to Industry Engagement. For an overview of the commercialization process, please review the 7 steps of technology commercialization demonstrating how Georgia Tech inventions make their way into the marketplace.

Does an invention disclosure protect my intellectual property?show

No, an invention disclosure does not protect your intellectual property. Submission of a disclosure to the Office of Industry Engagement is not the same as filing a provisional patent application, and it does not provide protection for your innovation in the event of public disclosure. Therefore, it is critical that you submit a disclosure and an enabling description of the technology at least 2 business days prior to any public disclosure (e.g., a publication or public presentation) or statutory deadline to determine the best course of action in protecting your innovation.

What is the Bayh-Dole Act?show

The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 enables much of Georgia Tech’s technology commercialization success by allowing the university to retain title to inventions conceived or first reduced to practice in the performance of work under a federal funding agreement. The Bayh-Dole Act requires that Georgia Tech:

  • Grant the U.S. government a non-exclusive, royalty-free license for government use
  • Give preference to U.S. manufacturers
  • Give preference to small businesses
  • Share net income with inventors according to Georgia Tech’s Intellectual Property Policy.

Learn more about the Bayh-Dole Act.


How does the IP agreement between Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta affect me?show

The Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have entered into a reciprocal Intellectual Property Agreement to address ownership and management of intellectual property. This agreement was put in place to establish a framework for efficient dissemination of new intellectual property that arises from research involving employees of both Georgia Tech and Children’s or that uses significant resources of both entities. To learn more, please review additional details about the agreement. Please contact Sherry Farrugia (sherry.farrugia@gatech.edu, 404-626-9634) for any Children’s project involving undergraduate students.