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Industrial Affiliates FAQs

Many affiliate programs are created out of demand by the industrial partners to transcend the traditional principal investigator/sponsor relationship with the hopes of establishing and developing long term symbiotic relationships with the university. Access to top rate faculty and potential employees (graduate students) is a primary motivation for industrial participation. For an annual fee, affiliates remain abreast of the cutting edge research within a general field of interest.

Affiliate programs are approved on the basis that multiple affiliates will be recruited and signed. The Office of Research and Innovation will work with new programs to allow time for the recruitment of multiple affiliates.

Please note that the affiliates program is not a substitute for sponsored research contracts.

The Office of Research and Innovation retains responsibility for the approval and review of affiliate programs. A new request for the establishment of an affiliate program will be reviewed to ensure that there are no conflicts with on-going research agreements and that the requested program adheres to the guiding principles as set forth in OSP 10007 Membership Fee Supported & Other Affiliate Programs.

Affiliate fees are deposited in the Virginia Tech Foundation and are restricted only in the sense that the monies must be used to support the affiliates program as set forth in the approved affiliates agreement. This may include the support of graduate students, conference proceedings, meetings, etc.

Once an agreement has been approved, the initiating unit overseeing the affiliate program should forward the agreements to the participating members requesting their signature and payment of the affiliate fee. Upon receipt of the fee, please use the General Research Funding Deposit Approval Form to deposit the funds into your affiliate account in the Virginia Tech Foundation. If the program is new, the Virginia Tech Foundation may require copies of the approved affiliate agreements.

An industrial affiliate is not entitled to specify the protocol to be used in the conduct of a specific research effort. However, membership may entitle an affiliate to request the inclusion of its products or processes in the research activities. Affiliate fees should never be used to consult, test, or provide dedicated research for a particular affiliate member. If a member requests work of such nature, a sponsored contract will need to be developed.

Affiliates requesting specific intellectual property rights will receive only those rights and options as allowed by the approved affiliate membership agreement.

No, graduate student involvement is limited to supporting the research for the entire affiliate membership and not one particular affiliate.

Affiliate agreements in general do not allow for any publication restrictions on the research being funded on behalf of the affiliates. However, affiliate sponsored proceedings and results may be limited for a specific period of time to the affiliate members but must ultimately be made available to the general public. Some affiliate programs provide affiliate members with a first look at results prior to publishing in academic journals. However, this first look should never preclude a publication.

The Office of the Research and Innovation will work with you to allow appropriate time for recruiting affiliate members. We realize that affiliates will join at different times. However, we reserve the right to review approved programs to ensure that there is a sufficient number of affiliates to warrant the continuation of the affiliates program. We will remain sensitive that an affiliate program is not for the sole benefit of a few.