The following are frequently asked questions about industry sponsored research and technology commercialization at Clemson. For more information on the sponsored research process, please visit the Office of Sponsored Programs or contact us to discuss opportunities.
All sponsored research proposals — domestic and international — should be submitted through your college’s Office of Sponsored Programs Support Center (OSP-SC). Your OSP-SC will process any proposals for private industry sponsors to the Office of Industry Contracts (OIC), which will work with the sponsor to develop an appropriate research agreement.
Preliminary proposals to sponsors, particularly industry sponsors, usually describe the problem and goals sufficiently but lack specificity in describing the tasks to be performed, the details expected in reports, and a measurable timeline for completing tasks and providing deliverables. Proposals usually include a list of cited references and researcher resumes, which may not be necessary for the contract statement of work. Contract disputes often occur when there is ambiguity in the research agreement and the expectations of the parties are not adequately captured in the statement of work. To avoid potential disputes, it is important for the investigator to be specific in defining tasks, deliverables, and any timelines expected by the sponsor in the statement of work for the research contract. To assist researchers in defining the statement of work for the contract, the Office of Industry Contracts (OIC) has Guidelines for Drafting Statement of Work and a template outline on the Forms and Templates page.
The length of time from the submission of a proposal to notification of the award varies. The entire process for establishing a new industry 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. Clemson has developed standard agreement terms with intellectual property options for industry sponsors in an effort to streamline and expedite contract negotiations. The process can be shorter if a sponsor accepts Clemson’s standard agreement(s). If a project is unusually complex (due to multiple sponsors, complex intellectual property terms, etc.) or the sponsor wants to negotiate changes to Clemson’s standard agreement or use its own form agreement, the process can take longer. In these cases, several months of negotiations may be required before work can begin.
To better understand the assignment of intellectual property created by researchers at Clemson University, please see the Clemson’s Intellectual Property Policy.
Clemson University asserts a right of ownership to any intellectual property that is created by Clemson personnel (including students) in the performance of a sponsored research project. However, Clemson recognizes a company’s need to access project intellectual property that results from work it funds and has created contracts that enable companies to easily obtain access to the project intellectual property on fair and reasonable terms with minimal negotiations.
The Office of Industry Contracts (OIC) has published Key Contract Positions in Industry Sponsored Research to provide guidance on Clemson’s policies and positions for industry sponsored research.
A primary responsibility of an institution of higher education is the development, cultivation and dissemination of new knowledge resulting from its research programs, and in accordance with said responsibility, any persons engaged by Clemson University in the performance of a research project will have the right to present or publish the results of the project. However, the University acknowledges the need for a sponsor to preserve intellectual property rights and protect its proprietary information. Clemson University allows a limited period of time (usually 60 days) for industry sponsors to preview publications and presentations of the research results to ensure that the sponsor’s pre-existing confidential information is not being divulged and to protect any patentable inventions.
No, the OIC does not manage research grants made by U.S. federal agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, etc.). If the prime award is federal, please contact your college’s Office of Sponsored Programs Support Center. 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 OIC. Gifts to the university are handled through the Clemson University Foundation. The OIC does manage industry sponsored research with domestic and foreign industry sponsors.
The Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) manages all Clemson University technologies. To disclose a new technology, please submit a Confidential Invention Disclosure Form to CURF or call (864) 656-4237.