1. Industrial Affiliate Programs (IAPs) are industry/university membership programs where a group of companies pay a predefined membership fee (usually annually) to support research programs headed by a group of faculty.  In return, the companies receive facilitated access to the research programs and to participating faculty and students.  Industry members typically attend annual meetings, receive copies of reports and publications, and have opportunities to recruit students.  Membership programs are a gateway for launching and conducting frequent, open communication between participating researchers and the corporate community.

  2. Membership in IAPs must be available to all interested companies in the related field.  IAPs can offer facilitated access to Virginia Tech’s research programs.  Non-members must not be excluded from access to such resources, but their access sometimes may be in a less convenient or more timely form.

  3. IAPs typically focus on an area or related areas of pre-competitive research and typically support several projects in a given field of research.  IAPs involve two or more faculty and a group of companies.  Members do not receive intellectual property rights in return for membership fees, and all members receive the same benefits from their membership in the IAP.  Sponsored research agreements typically are one-on-one arrangements where a company funds research in one faculty member’s lab.  The sponsored project typically has a specific statement of work and budget for a defined period of time.  In sponsored research, the sponsoring company pays the full direct and indirect costs of the research.  In return, the company typically receives options to license inventions resulting from the project. 

  4. Yes, companies often enter into research agreements while members of IAPs.  The distinction in benefits is outlined in #3 above.  When a company serves as both an IAP member and a research sponsor, however, care must be taken to maintain a clear distinction between the two relationships, and the benefits that are expected from each.

  5. The Office of the Vice President for Research has procedures to govern IAPs.

  6. Indirect costs are not applied to IAP funds.  Affiliate membership fees are deposited in the Virginia Tech Foundation and are then divided up between a University fund and a Virginia Tech Foundation Fund (generally 80%/20%.)   The IAP must have a separate and unique fund in both the University as well as the Virginia Tech Foundation (no co-mingling of finances in department, institute or center funds.) 

  7. University intellectual property generated by an IAP may be offered to members only under terms consistent with university policy. The signed agreement for industry members must contain must contain intellectual property language approved by the Director of the Contracts Team and Scientific Advisor of the Office of Sponsored Programs.  No automatic license or other intellectual property rights will be granted as a result of membership in the program. Specific intellectual property rights will be stated in the IAP’s membership agreements as applicable.

  8. To set up a new IAP, please fill out this form and email to the Director of Contracts at OSP.  From there, the Contracts Team will assist you in drafting a membership agreement based on the IAP template agreement. Once an IAP has developed an approved membership agreement, they work with OVPR to formally register the IAP and set up a fund at the Virginia Tech Foundation and a University fund.   Once accomplished, the IAP can begin executing membership agreements with industry members and depositing funds.

  9. Membership agreements for IAPs are reviewed by the Director of Contracts, Office of Sponsored Programs, and are signed by the Office of the Vice President for Research.   IAP directors and faculty members are not authorized to sign agreements on behalf of Virginia Tech.