Working with Industry

Many researchers choose to partner with industry to innovate and solve problems through sponsored research. Industry partners offer a way to conduct research in real-world settings and solving real problems. 

If you are interested in working with an industry partner, we can work with you to to establish the desired relationship with the desired partner. Industry partnerships may be appropriate for solving industry problems through research, licensing and developing university research-born technology and more.

Our industry engagement staff can help you:

Our researchers work with industry across a wide range of fields. Regardless of your discipline or intended industry research subject, we can help you find a partner - from business, to engineering, to medicine to design.

To begin identifying and approaching potential industry partners, please contact our staff.

Researchers partner with industry for many different types of projects, including industry sponsored research and service contracts, material transfer agreements, clinical trials and licenses/options of intellectual property.

  • Sponsored research agreements: companies sponsor collaborative work on a specific project, which may result in intellectual property. To begin identifying and approaching potential industry partners, please contact our Director of Industry Partnerships.
  • Service contracts: companies sponsor fee-for-service work, such as for fabrication, with little chance of developing new intellectual property. Many of these contracts route through UofL's Research Service Centers.
  • Material transfer agreements (MTAs): researchers transfer materials or data to a company or another institution. To learn more, please visit our please visit our MTA page.
  • Clinical trials: companies developing drugs, medical devices, etc., may sponsor clinical trials at our medical center to test their safety and efficacy ahead of FDA approval. To learn more about clinical trials, please visit our Clinical Trials page.
  • Licensing/optioning IP: companies may also choose to license or option technologies invented by UofL researchers. To learn more about licensing/optioning, please visit our Innovation and Commercialization page.

As with grant-sponsored research, the first step in launching an industry project is developing a project proposal. One key difference is that industry proposals may begin with a Non-Disclosure Agreement, or NDA. To learn more about NDAs, please explore our NDA page There are many considerations to be made when developing an industry proposal. To learn more about these considerations, please explore our Industry Proposal Development and Submission page.

Once you have developed your proposal and your industry partner has agreed, the next step is to complete the contracting process and set up your award. To learn more about this process, please explore our Industry Proposal Development and Submission page.

A Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) between ULRF and an industry sponsor establishes the contractual terms and conditions for conducting a specific research project. To establish an SRA, please forward relevant documents to . We will use these documents to negotiate an agreement with the sponsor to meet each party’s needs and in accordance with applicable policies. After the SRA is executed, OSPA will also establish a chartfield (account) within the UofL financial management and tracking systems as you begin work on your project.

When working with industry, or on any research project, you may ultimately develop something that may be protected as intellectual property. UofL will work with you to determine who holds rights early, so there are no disagreements down the road. To learn more about intellectual property resulting from research, please explore our Innovation and Commercialization page



Information for industry looking to engage with UofL is available here.