K-State’s sponsored funding successes in fiscal year 2017 — as detailed in the September 20 edition of this newsletter — indicate an increased number of partnerships with industry sponsors. The record number of proposals submitted and awards received included a remarkable 19% increase in the number of corporate sponsored projects from the previous year, with an 80% increase over the last five fiscal years.  

K-State faculty are continuing to find innovative ways to partner with industry. One of those ways is through collaborative researcher visits, which can set the stage for  an excellent experience for all — the collaborating faculty member, the host university, and industry partners. These interactions strengthen collaborations, improve the quality of the research, and help align university research agendas to produce outcomes that align with industry sponsor needs. Collaborating researchers also gain broadened perspectives that can advance their careers. 

Structuring these interactions requires care.  K-State faculty should work closely with departmental and college administrators, the Office of General Counsel, PreAward Services, and/or the Kansas State University Research Foundation to ensure proper planning. Due diligence should be exercised to ensure that the exchange/visit is properly structured to meet expectations regarding outcomes and ensure that all policy, procedure, and regulatory concerns are identified and addressed.  

In November, Chris Brandt, president and CEO of the Kansas State University Research Foundation, and I will present visiting researcher agreement sessions at the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership Contracting Forum at Arizona State University. These sessions will present case studies to stimulate audience participation. We will discuss key elements and identify gaps and concerns such as liability, intellectual property development, proper administrative vehicles, security, and confidentiality. We will examine sample visiting researcher agreements and provide participants with strategies for structuring collaborative and practical industry-university interactions. 

We will be available after the UIDP Forum to present to departmental or college groups interested in discussing this topic. Please email plowe@ksu.edu or brandtcd@ksu.edu to schedule a session for your unit.

— Paul Lowe, associate vice president for research and director, PreAward Services