CU Researcher

Professor Tin Tin SuThe mission of the University of Colorado Boulder is focused on education and research. In order to better serve this purpose, the Office of Industry Collaboration (OIC) is working with administration and units across campus to better support the industry research collaboration process with more clear, concise and efficient processes.

Whether you are interested in working with industry, supporting existing industry relationships or promoting additional opportunities with industry partners, the Office of Industry Collaboration can navigate and support you through the process.

Industry project structure is different from that of federal government project management in relation to communication, billing and expectations such as cost, schedule and work manner. The Office of Industry Collaboration can guide you through and, even sometimes, navigate for you the administrative details to allow you to focus on accomplishing the work. The sooner your involve our office, the better we can help define the appropriate structure for accomplishing your goals.

The Office of Industry Collaboration is here to help you. Call or email us at 303-492-0800 or


As a researcher and expert in your field, you have to manage projects, labs, students, teaching, and many other responsibilities. The OIC has the ability to alleviate the time commitment and burden of idea to executed contract. In addition, our expertise and collaboration with other expert departments will produce a professionally negotiated contract with maximum benefits for both you and the industry partner.

  • Connections & Strategic Relationships
  • Marketing of Capabilities & Expertise
  • Tracking & Reporting
  • Management of Risk & Liability
  • Communication & Organization of SOW Definition, Budget Development & Deliverable Criteria

OIC Services

  • Establish appropriate agreements to work with industry partners on service agreements or sponsored research. (Note: Sonsored research agreements especially projects with federal flow through requirements, continue to be handled through the Office of Contracts and Grants with possible OIC involvement.)
  • Organize and market equipment, lab and service capabilities available for use by outside entities, at your discretion. If you have active engagement with outside entities, OIC will help you develop an approved use agreement and rate and discuss billing options.
    • External Sales and Service Activities (ESA) must be setup and handled in accordance with campus established guidelines, policies, and procedures. The Office of Industry Collaboration will support these processes. The ESA Activity Information Form is used to gather information for setup.

    • ESA Guidance: Provides guidance for the University of Colorado Boulder Campus (CU) regarding the setup, management, costs and allocations related to External Sales and Service activities. 

    • The ESA Guidebook: Provides details and procedures for setup, processing, and managing external sales and services.

  • Support other opportunities with industry such as consulting services, joint proposals, student projects, internships/student hires, etc.
Types of Engagement




  • Student Employees
  • Interns
  • Student Projects
  • Recruitment
  • Technical Seminars
  • Mentorship Programs
  • Classroom/Distance Learning 
  • Lectures/Workshops
  • Programs for Children
  • Events/Festivals
  • Museums/Planetarium
  • Research Services
  • Fundamental & Applied Sponsored Research
  • Joint Proposals
  • Technology Commercialization
  • Entrepreneurial Support
  • Advertising
  • Volunteering
  • Sponsorships
  • Philanthropy
  • Business Vendor


Throughout the University, there will be partnership opportunities available for researchers. As they become available, you will find links to the information below.

  • Advanced Industries Accelerator for Bioscience - CU researchers are eligible to apply for proof-of-concept funding through CU Tech Transfer to support commercialization of bioscience technologies. These proposals have a limit of $180,000 ($135,000 state + $45,000 matching funds). Details and the application are available online. Letters of intent are due to CU Tech Transfer via email by October 16, 2015; full proposals must be submitted by 5pm MST on December 11, 2015.
  • Pfizer Collaborative AgreementThe University of Colorado and Pfizer, Inc. have formed a new partnership to accelerate the translation of biomedical research into effective drug targets and therapies for patients. The agreement funds research projects and postdoctoral fellowships in the biosciences.
  • Syngenta is a world leading company in bringing plant potential to life. Syngenta is working with the University of Colorado Boulder on potential opportunities for access to technology, collaborative proposals, and new products or concepts for agriculture or lawn and garden. The Office of Industry Collaboration is currently collecting submission ideas on behalf of Syngenta for grower solutions comprising genetics, chemistry and/or adjacent technologies. Link to Idea Submission Guidelines 

  • Boulder Energy Challenge - Sponsored by the City of Boulder, this competitive grant program is designed to invite and stimulate local innovation and create market driven solutions to reduce Boulder's greenhouse gas emissions. The Challenge is funded by the Climate Action Plan tax and will fund a portfolio of primarily energy efficiency and clean energy development projects. 

Working with industry can be different from working for the federal government. Many CU researchers work easily with industry and find it to be rewarding and beneficial. Following are some quick points to keep in mind so that the experience is smooth and beneficial on both sides:

  • Coordination - beginning discussions or have an encounter with an industry partner? Let the Industry Collaboration Office know. Sometimes, multiple units on campus are working with the same company. Having knowledge of other activities can avoid confusion or problems and might have benefits. The Industry office will share the information and let you know what else might be happening.
  • Confidentiality matters - Make sure that you and your entire team have protocols in place to retain the confidentiality of protected material. Inform new students and workers. Consider electronic, paper and conversational methods.
  • Statement of Work - the negotiated SOW will be the point of reference to determine what is done and how "completion" is measured. It is important that the document be developed to be specific and measureable and to guide your work on the project. The Industry Office will help in crafting. Sometimes, when working on a project, changes are identified that are desired. Work with the customer, and through the Industry office, to modify the SOW and (perhaps) the budget and schedule to reflect the changes.
  • Communication - while a federal sponosor may expect an annual written report, industry sponsors will, most likely, want and appreciate more frequent communication. At the beginning of the project, work with the customer to develop an appropriate communication style and timeframe. Ideally, have this discussion while working on the SOW and include certain details in that document. The level and type of communication can have an impact on the budget and schedule that should be understood prior to finalizing those elements.
  • Delivery - as in most areas of life, it is better to over deliver. Schedule, budget, and quality are all important.
  • Problems? If you have any concerns with meeting the project objectives, talk with the Industry office about ways the campus can help and when/how to notify to customer. Surprises should be avoided but, first, we may find some ways to resolve the issue internally. Members of the Industry Advisory Committee might also be good sources of advice. You have people who can help and should not hesitate to ask.


This is a description of the people involved in industry projects and their roles/responsibility


Proposal Phase




Connector to industry (might start in many ways)

Obtains department approvals

Responsible for the proposal

Partners with Industry Office

Finalize SOW, schedule and budget if changes from proposal

Determine / begin hiring process for needed personnel

Don’t start work until contract signed

Prepare for equipment and facility set-up

Attend Kick-off meeting

Deliver in accordance with SOW

Communicate regularly with customer

Compliance (EAR, ITAR,  Human subjects, EHS, OCI, confidentiality)

Evaluate work for change in scope and initiate change order

Work with PM (if applicable)

Report any new discoveries to Tech Tsf

Industry Partner

Clear in defining goals and expectations

Good faith negotiation of contract terms

Don’t just leave it to lawyers- engage technical contact

Attend Kick-off meeting

Pay invoices promptly

Meet obligations of contract

Work with PI/PM or Industry office if any issues

Industry Office

Supports Researcher and Industry in being single point of contact

Completes and signs standard NDAs, facilitates non-standard

Works with researcher to define the project and evaluate options for how to proceed

Pulls in other campus groups for initial definition to avoid downstream surprises

Determines appropriate contract type

Keeps process moving, identify roadblocks, supports timely decisions

Obtains campus approval to proceed

Supports SOW development

Develops / approves budget and/or rate

Supports Proposal where boilerplate can be used

Oversee process to assure timely actions and progress – define steps and set timeline

Work with PI to be ready for implementation

Kick-off meeting – schedule and facilitate

Frequent communication with PI and Industry plus all internal groups

May execute agreement

Support procurements

Monthly reporting

Communication with PI and sponsor

Process changes to SOW or task orders

Monitor progress

Program Manager (if used)

Support definition of project and team

Assist PI on proposal and development of SOW and budget

If requested, function as proposal manager

 Assist in timely completion

Assist in daily operations, as agreed upon with PI

Support communication to customer

Contracting (OCG, Legal, TTO)

Non-std NDA

Identification of key issues to resolve early in process


Focused effort on contracting process

 Process change orders or new task orders if necessary

Dept Chair

Confirm that unit supports this project, that PI has the appropriate skill set, and that personnel and space will be available.

Approve any department related terms

Oversee PI regarding appropriate implementation

Oversees invoicing and collection if done by dept.

Tech Transfer

Identify appropriate IP treatments and options 

Responsive as needed

Evaluates any invention disclosures

Risk Mgmt

 Involved as needed

Facilities Mgmt

Estimates of any changes needed to perform the project.




Conflict of Interest, ITAR, Export Control, Human Subjects, and any other special conditions reviewed and determined.


 Supports as needed.



Set-up speed type

Prepare for billing (if sponsored project)

 Invoices, reports when fund 30

HR (may be campus HR, Faculty Affairs and VC Research depending on job classification)

 Involved if special conditions

Assists in having personnel in place.

 Personnel mgmt and evaluation

Supports team development

VC Research

Approves any rate variances or other special terms

May execute agreement

Involved in special cases / variances



  • Rates - We need to determine the costs for use of university facilities and/or personnel, and confirm that the costs are recovered through appropriate agreements. We will work with you to set up these budgets/rates, and determine who will handle the invoicing and collections. The costs, risks, and benefits from working with industry are different from those when working with the government. The rate structure depends upon type of work and costs to recover.
  • Agreements - working with any entity requires appropriate agreements prior to starting work. We will work with you to determine the appropriate type of agreement, statement of work, and other details and will work to obtain the appropriate signatures. While we have tried to develop templates suitable for the majority of work with industry, when necessary, we will handle the contract negotiations with the customer. Please note - using the templates saves time and keeps the overhead low.
  • Facilities and equipment use - if the equipment in your lab was bought on a federal sponsored research project, there may be limitations on the use for industry work. We will work with you to determine if limitations exist, and, if so, options for obtaining right to use.
  • Consulting - tenure track faculty are able to do outside consulting under the one sixth rule. In general, outside consulting is when you are providing advice regarding the customer's own products and processes. Due to IP ownership issues, it is not appropriate to consult where you are using the intellectual property developed while working at CU-Boulder on other projects. When doing outside work, no CU resources (computers, offices, labs, other personnel) are be used. If you are interested in working with industry and want to utilize CU resources, then you should work through the Industry office. Remember that external consulting requires departmental approval and should be reported on your FRPA and Disclosure of External Professional Activity (DEPA) and updated any time there is a change - click here for forms, checklists, contacts and links.
  • Shared success - the model for working with industry is to provide for an appropriate return for all entities (campus, department, researcher, and industry). 

Outside Employment by Graduate Students on RA Appointments - This document describes the considerations in determing how to handle these type of activities. 

Industry Consulting by Officers and Exempt Professionals - This document describes important factors to consider, the approval process for additional work, agreement types, options, and existing reference policies and procedures for these type of activities.

Export Controls - Learn more about working with foreign national collaborators, institutions, or students who may fall under the purview of various federal export control laws.

Student Participation in CU Activity Involving Industry Projects - The following documents should be reviewed and utilized as appropriate when students are involved in projects with industry partners. For further information, consult the "CU Student Worker Liability & Insurance Coverage in University Collaboration with Industry" document.

Undergraduate's Guide to Intellectual Property - Guidelines to help CU Undergraduates understand role in IP rights.