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What can I expect from a university research project?

Timelines

University projects are typically controlled by the student cycle:

  • September to May for undergraduate research projects.
  • May to August for summer research students.
  • One or more years starting at different times of the year for master's, PhD or post-doctoral students.

Professors occasionally work directly on short consulting projects, but their time is primarily spent supervising students. This gives industry the biggest bang for their buck while still training students on research methods and solving practical problems.


Costs

The university charges student compensation, materials and supplies at cost. In addition, to support the research facility, UOIT charges a flat rate of overhead, typically 40 per cent. This percentage is in line with charges at other Ontario universities; it compensates for such expenses as utilities, equipment maintenance, library holdings and administration.

The overhead charge is relatively modest. The Canada Revenue Agency allows a 65 per cent charge against salaries for Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED) claimants, and most companies consider their real costs of support research and development (R&D) personnel to be much higher.

The costs of doing business with the university are also kept low by:

  • The level of student salaries.
  • The leverage available from government programs to support collaborative research.
  • The absence of a profit margin for provision of services.

Intellectual property

University/industry research projects are collaborations rather than simple fee-for-service arrangements. University professors receive no additional compensation for choosing to work with industry, and the university has no profit margin.

As a result, when university faculty and students contribute to the creation of new intellectual property such as patents, the university and the inventors should share in the profits resulting from commercialization. This does not mean the university holds its partners hostage over IP rights. But it does mean that when an invention results in a successful new product or process, an agreement should be in place to have something flow back to the university.

There are as many ways of doing this as there are companies. The vast majority of companies have no problem with this principle of fairness, as long as the university acknowledges the risk and investment of the company in taking something from the idea stage to practical implementation - which is usually the hardest part. UOIT deals with its partners in a fair and straightforward way that respects industry's challenges and risks.


Publication and disclosure

University students build their careers on their research record, which is documented through publications in academic journals and their graduate theses. It is essential for students, faculty and the university that interesting results be shared with the world.

That said, UOIT routinely enters into confidentiality agreements to protect our partners’ proprietary business information. We also allow partners to request delays in publishing the results of research to allow time for filing patents or to remove business information that does not compromise the communication of the new scientific principles embodied in the publication.


Further information

For a more in-depth discussion of university-industry partnerships, please contact UOIT's Office of Research Services (ORS).

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