What is an Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC)?

IUCRCs are organizations sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to focus academic creativity and innovation on addressing key problems and concerns of industry. IUCRCs enable industrially-relevant, pre-competitive research through multi-member, sustained partnerships among industry, academia, and government. NSF provides a financial and procedural framework for membership and operations in addition to best practices learned over decades of fostering public/private partnerships that provide significant value to the nation, industry and university faculty and students. Members guide the direction of Center research through active involvement and mentoring.

What is the status of this IUCRC, the Center for Bioanalytic Metrology (CBM)?

We have received planning funding from NSF for an IUCRC Center for Bioanalytical Metrology. We aim to submit a proposal request for full funding in December 2018, with full funding anticipated in 2Q 2019 and launch in 3Q 2019.

Who is leading the CBM?

The center will bring together researchers from Purdue University, Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame and those from ~15 life science and biotechnology partners and ~6 analytical instrumentation partners, creating an ecosystem for innovation. The principal investigators leading this effort are:

Paul Bohn, Arthur J. Schmitt Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame

Garth Simpson, Professor of Analytical and Physical Chemistry, Purdue University

Lane Baker, James F. Jackson Professor of Chemistry, Indiana University

Additional programmatic leadership provided by:

Christopher Welch, Director, Indiana Consortium for Analytical Science & Engineering

Arnie Phifer, Associate Director, Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics, University of Notre Dame

How much does it cost to be a member of the CBM, and what does my company get in return?

In line with most IUCRCs, the cost of regular membership in the CBM is $50k/year, the full amount of which is spent on research. For less than the cost of one FTE, member companies receive:

  • Solutions to key bioanalytic problems
  • A seat on the center’s Industry Advisory Board and full voting rights to set annual priorities and select new projects
  • Many opportunities to engage top academics in addressing the company’s particular research challenges
  • Recruiting: that is, the ability to work in close collaboration with graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, who become top prospects for employment
  • The opportunity to network with industry peers and develop partnerships from across the supply chain
  • Faster contracting for non-center research projects via master agreement
  • Early testing and access to new instrumentation and product offerings from analytical instrument partners

My company makes scientific measurement instrumentation. Is it possible for us to join the center through an in-kind contribution of instrumentation?

NSF rules stipulate that in kind donations cannot be counted toward membership in the center IAB. However, realizing the important role that cutting edge new analytical instrumentation will play in the success of the CBM, an Analytical Instrumentation Member (AIM) category has been created to encourage the participation of producers of analytical instrumentation. AIM members will pay an annual membership fee of $25k/year, and will vote on the distribution of this amount among the various CBM projects as with any other IAB member. In addition, AIM members will place at least one analytical instrument per year, for a two-year period, into the laboratory in one of the three universities, with the agreement on instrumentation and placement to be decided through discussions between the AIM member and the center leadership.

Our company focuses mostly on traditional areas of chemistry and material science and is only marginally involved in biotechnology and bioanalytical research. Does it make sense for us to join the CBM?

The CBM is devoted to tackling the important measurement science challenges of industry, broadly defined. Some of our members are primarily interested in bioanalytical measurement science, others on measurement science challenges relating to small molecule pharmaceuticals or agrochemicals, while still others are primarily interested in the analysis of foods, petrochemicals, or materials. In short, the CBM is devoted to addressing the key measurement challenges of industry, and all companies having such needs are welcome to join.

Is it possible for my company to have two memberships in the CBM? Three?

NSF rules allow a single company to have a double membership in the CBM at double the standard $50k/year annual membership ($100k). This is useful for larger companies with different divisions or departments that are interested in participating in more projects within the CBM. However, to prevent any single company from becoming overly dominant within the center, NSF does not allow triple, quadruple, etc., memberships.

How are research projects and priorities selected?

  1. Industry members share technical gaps and needs that could potentially be addressed via analytical measurement science.
  2. The Industry Advisory Board (consisting of a representative from each member company) develops a list of their most important topics and problem areas to issue as a request for proposals to faculty and staff in the analytical areas of PU, ND and IU.
  3. Faculty and staff from the academic institutions respond with proposals of research that could address the problem areas.
  4. The IAB votes on the allocation of funds to the projects they prefer, with each member assigning funds in proportion to the membership fee that they pay.
  5. Selected projects are kicked off, with at least one industry liaison from funding companies associated with each project. Liaisons participate in periodic project calls and meetings with the academic team and contribute to experimental planning and interpretation of results. Ideally, these are supplemented by visits of industry liaisons to university labs and of students and academics to industry labs during the project.
  6. The results of the projects are shared with all CBM members, followed later by publication, typically with joint academic/industry authorship.

Can my company carry out a project through the CBM without letting other Industry Advisory Board (IAB) members know?

No. The general outlines of all projects carried out through the CBM will be known to all members of the Industry Advisory Board (IAB). Companies actively involved in a given research project will be most familiar with ongoing data and results coming from that project, but all IAB members will be aware of each project and will receive periodic updates and preprints of any manuscripts or presentations describing the research. Companies have the option of contracting non-center projects with any of the three universities, where normal university overhead rates will apply.

How does the CBM handle IP?

New inventions created through CBM sponsored activities are patented by the university where the work was performed, following that institution’s procedures for determining inventorship. All of the center’s industry members receive non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to use said technologies.

Can my company carry out a project through the CBM with the express purpose of creating new IP?

No. The CBM focuses on research that is precompetitive in nature, so projects aimed at creating new IP are best handled outside the CBM. In place of the full benefits of the NSF-sponsored CBM, such projects can be structured to take advantage of expedited contracting, special provisions, and other incentives.

How can I get more information?

Visit the CBM website at http://sites.nd.edu/cbm/ or contact Chris Welch (christopher@welchinnovation.com) or Arnie Phifer (aphifer@nd.edu)