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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Promoting Industry Collaboration Initiative

Collaborations between universities and industry have led to economic development, innovation and discovery. To further stimulate UW–Madison’s research enterprise in this arena, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE) is launching the Promoting Industry Collaboration Initiative (PICI) to facilitate research partnerships and graduate-student internships in collaboration with the private sector. The initiative is supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

This strategic initiative focuses on developing, building and promoting collaborations between UW–Madison and the private sector. It seeks to address solutions to complex social, environmental and economic challenges (e.g. energy, food, health, security) that are best addressed via collaboration between universities and industry. This initiative also supports semester or semester-plus-summer long internships for Ph.D. students with dissertator status. Proposed academic-industry partnerships are expected to leverage research strengths and other resources unique to each group to advance a shared research goal.

Proposals may include:

  • Performing cutting-edge collaborative pre-competitive fundamental research in science, engineering, and technology areas of interest to industry and with the potential to drive innovation.
  •  Developing applications for University-Industry cooperative research centers.
  • Implementing UW-Industry partnerships that support research internships and training opportunities for graduate students to gain experience in an industrial setting and acquire professional development skills relevant to multiple career pathways.
  • Seeding pilot studies for future proposals that specifically target UW–Madison-Industry partnerships.

 

Criteria for evaluation include:

  • What is the research problem(s) you are trying to solve? Why is this problem important and why should it be addressed now? That is, what makes the proposed research significant?
  • What are the innovative approaches and potential for groundbreaking impact? How will it be transformative for the field?
  • What are the expected outcomes (e.g., grant submissions, sponsored research, publications, patents, breakthrough technologies)?
  • What are the unique qualifications of the research team for leading this research? How does the industry partner provide critical research expertise, without which the likelihood for success of the project would be diminished?
  • If relevant, how will the internships advance both cutting-edge research and graduate student career pathways?

Award Application Process

Deadlines

  • A cover sheet with a 300-word abstract is due March 5, 2021 (first item below)
  • The complete proposal is due April 9, 2021 (additional items below)

 

Eligibility

  • The lead Principal Investigator (PI) must be a UW–Madison faculty member or a researcher with permanent PI status.
  • CHS faculty and academic staff without permanent PI status may participate as co-PIs.
  • The application must have an industry collaborator.
  • By accepting this grant, all participants agree that any improvements, invention, or new innovation that occurs as a result of this funding will be disclosed and assigned to WARF.

 

HOW TO APPLY FOR A PROMOTING INDUSTRY COLLABORATION INITIATIVE AWARD

The online application form is available at: https://vcrge-uwmadison.smapply.io/.

You may log-in using your UW–Madison NetID and password. Select the “Promoting Industry Collaboration Initiative” program tile. Click “Apply” to start a new application.

Some Key Tips:

  • The PI must initiate the application.
  • The PI can invite additional collaborators (writers/editors) to fill out the application form. However, the PI who initiates the application must also be the person that ultimately submits the application and supervises the effort associated with the award.
  • Remember to scroll down and select “mark as complete” at the bottom of each completed page.
  • You will be able to review the application before final submission.
  • You will have the option of downloading the entire application document.

 

All applicants must provide:

A cover sheet that includes:

  • PI information (name, email address, departmental/center affiliation, division).
  • A list of anticipated co-Principal Investigators and co-Investigators.
  • Name of industry partner.
  • Project title.
  • A list of four UW–Madison faculty with subject expertise relevant to the proposal to serve as scientific reviewers. Please avoid listing faculty with potential conflicts of interest. For example, do not list dissertation advisors, former students, anyone in the same department as the PI (and co-PIs), or anyone with whom the PI (and co-PIs) have collaborated in the last five years.
  • A 300-word research abstract that addresses the following topics (in accessible language):

What is the research problem you are trying to solve? Why is this problem important to industry and why should it be addressed now? That is, what makes the proposed research significant?

What are the innovative approaches and potential for groundbreaking impact? How will it be transformative for the field?

What are the expected outcomes (e.g., grant submissions, industry sponsored research, publications, new technologies, patents)?

What are the unique qualifications of the academic research team and industrial partner for collaborating on this research?

If applicable, how will graduate student research internship advance and enhance the graduate student’s research project and career goals?

  • The amount of funding requested from the OVCRGE (we expect the range for each award to be between $50K- $200K, with up to $2 million targeted for this initiative.) Projects can be for 1 or 2 years.
  • If appropriate, name of graduate intern, degree program, thesis advisor(s) and industry supervisor(s). Students should be in dissertator status at the time of the internship.

 

Your cover sheet and abstract (the first item above) must be completed by March 5, 2021. (You should scroll to the end of the first section and select “mark as complete”.) An Associate Vice Chancellor will notify the applicant by March 12 if there are any concerns with the abstract. After this date, you may proceed with the remaining sections (see items below) of the proposal. Complete proposals are due by 4:30 pm on April 9, 2021.

 

Additional items in the research proposal:

A lay paragraph (150 words). Please summarize your project in language suitable for someone outside of the field. This will help the VCRGE convey the nature of your project to the WARF Board.

In a single PDF file: a narrative, not to exceed five pages, that describes:

  • The opportunity, major research questions, specific aims and hypotheses being addressed.
  • The major tasks each academic and industry partner will complete, and the contributions each partner will bring to the project.
  • The unique qualifications of each partner that increase the likelihood of project success.
  • The innovative vision, potential for groundbreaking impact, and significance of the proposed research. Include a statement about how this research will be transformative for the field and its potential for developing new technologies that will benefit university-industry relationships, citizens and society.
  • The bold, innovative approaches proposed to achieve the goals of the project.
  • How potential risks and challenges will be managed.
  • A statement of the expected outcomes of the proposed activities and an explanation of how these activities will provide the necessary foundation for new industry-sponsored research, technology development, and other external funding.
  • If graduate student interns are included, a statement of how the internship period will support the aims of the student’s thesis project and integrate enhanced career development opportunities for participating graduate students.
  • A timeline of research activities for the funding period.
  • Plans for obtaining external funding or future collaborations.
  • If other funding has been received for this or a closely related project, a description of the previously funded project.
  • You may include optional additional material, as appropriate.
    • One page of figures or tables to accompany the narrative (or submit a six-page narrative with figures and tables embedded in the text)
    • References (citations from the research literature; not counted in the five-page limit.)

 

In a single PDF file: A detailed budget request, indicating the personnel to be supported and other categories of funding that will be needed. Personnel costs should include funds for campus-approved fringe benefits and tuition remission for any graduate students. Budget requests should not include indirect cost funds. Although collaborations with scholars outside of UW–Madison may be beneficial, funds from this initiative cannot be used to support researchers at other institutions. PICI awards cannot be used to fund industry personnel, but services and products can be purchased. The budget may include UW faculty salary for summer support only; this initiative will not provide academic year faculty salary support. Faculty with 12-month appointments are not eligible for faculty salary support. Graduate interns are eligible for support for up to a semester-plus-summer long internship. The budget must be submitted using the provided budget template, which you should save as a PDF and upload to the on-line submission system.

In a single PDF file: A brief (no more than one page) budget justification that explains the rationale for each item in your budget. Proposals will not be reviewed without an itemized budget justification, including rationale for duration of internship.

In a single PDF file: CVs or Bio-sketches for the Principal Investigator, co-Principal Investigators, co-Investigators, and Collaborators. Include all current and pending intramural and extramural research support for each investigator. You may also include letter(s) of support from industry or other partners stating commitment to the project.

In a single PDF file: If applicable, provide name of graduate student intern, degree program, thesis advisor(s) and degree status. Students should be in dissertator status at the time of the internship. The internship plan should include the following: A brief (no more than one page) mentoring plan for the internship; names of faculty advisor and the supervisor at the industry partner; a description for how regular communication between the faculty mentor and industry supervisor will be maintained throughout the period of work, how work will be assigned to student and how research progress will be assessed during the internship. The start/end dates and hours expected for the internship should also be included. All internship applications must include an internship plan.

Submitting the full application:

After completing the items above, please make sure to review the entire document before you select to “submit” it. You will also have the option to download the entire document.

Additional requirements if your proposal is selected for an award:

If you are selected for an award, you will need to complete a collaborative research agreement with your industry partner (see template here). In addition, as you approach industry to initiate a partnership you may need a non-disclosure agreement (see template here) to discuss confidential issues as well.

Contacts:

For technical questions or for general information on submitting a proposal, please send an email to competitions@research.wisc.edu.

Review Process:

A faculty committee of subject matter experts will review the proposals to identify those that hold the most promise for meeting the goals of this initiative. The committee will then make recommendations to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. The OVCRGE will make final selections.

Final Report:

A final report will be required. The report will provide a summary of what was accomplished by the project. The final report should include citations to any published papers or conference presentations that derive from the research undertaken, any new industry-sponsored research obtained and any new grants that were submitted by or awarded to the research team. If applicable, graduate student research intern should summarize impact of industry internship on their thesis projects and unique skill sets obtained.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

WHAT IS THE PROMOTING INDUSTRY COLLABORATION INITIATIVE?

The goal of the industry collaboration initiative is to encourage collaboration with industry, stimulate innovative thinking among students and promote translation of fundamental research.

CAN THE GRANT FUNDS GO TO INDUSTRY PARTNER?

WARF funds cannot be used to fund industry personnel, but services and products can be purchased. Please note all campus and system purchasing policies must be adhered to.

DOES THE WORK HAVE TO BE DONE ON CAMPUS?

The research can occur on campus or at another site.

CAN I BE A PI ON MORE THAN ONE PROPOSAL?

An individual can be PI on only one Promoting Industry Collaboration Initiative proposal. It is not a problem to be PI on one proposal and be a co-PI or collaborator on another.

CAN GRADUATE STUDENT INTERNSHIPS OCCUR DURING ANY SEMESTER?

Yes, the internship can occur in fall, spring or summer semester or any combination thereof.

HOW ARE GRADUATE STUDENT INTERNS WORKING IN AN INDUSTRY SETTING APPOINTED?

Students will be appointed as Research Assistants during their industry setting internship. They must maintain full-time enrollment of 3 credits per semester.

CAN GRADUATE STUDENTS IN PREDISSERTATOR STATUS GET APPOINTED AS A RESEARCH INTERN?

No, only students in dissertator status at the time of the internship can be appointed. The internship must be related to the student’s research project.

CAN GRADUATE STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT PART OF THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM WORK ON PICI RESEARCH PROJECTS?

Yes, graduate students working at UW-Madison can be appointed as Research Assistants on a PICI research project, in the same manner as any other WARF funded project. These students can be in pre-dissertator or dissertator status. An internship plan is not needed for a RA working on the research project outside of the internship arrangement.

IS THERE A MATCHING FUNDS REQUIREMENT?

Some level of matching requirement is required. Funding for industry personnel are expected to be covered by the industry partner and can be considered matching funds.

CAN GRADUATE STUDENT INTERNSHIPS TAKE PLACE AT A COMPANY THAT THESIS ADVISOR IS A PARTNER OR OWNER OF?

No, the internship must be in a company that the thesis advisor has no financial interest in.

CAN A PI PARTNER WITH A COMPANY THAT THEY HAVE FINANCIAL INTEREST IN?

No, the business partner must be a company that the PI has no financial interest in.

ARE THERE ANY CONDITIONS TO THE AWARD?

A progress report and final report will be required. Periodic updates after the funding ends will be required.

Additionally, by accepting the award, University researchers (Principal Investigators and other University personnel working on the project supported by this funding) agree to assign all of their right, title and interest in all improvements, inventions, or new innovations that occur as a result of this funding to the University’s designated patent management organization, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (“WARF”). Industry partner employees will not need to assign their interests to WARF but, instead, shall assign all of their right, title and interest in all improvements, inventions, or new innovations that occur as a result of their collaboration with University to their respective employer as applicable based on the industry partner’s policies.  Joint improvements, inventions or new innovations created by both University researchers and industry partner employees will be jointly owned by industry partner and WARF.  Industry partner and WARF will each have the independent right to non-exclusively license to third parties, and otherwise exploit their respective interest in, any joint improvements, inventions or new innovations without accounting to or consulting with each other, subject to any future agreement between WARF and industry partner.

WHEN ARE PROMOTING INDUSTRY COLLABORATION INITIATIVE PROPOSALS DUE AND REVIEWED?

March 5, 2021, for abstract submission; April 9, 2021, for full proposal submission (award recipients will be notified in June 2021).

WHAT IS THE REVIEW PROCESS FOR PROMOTING INDUSTRY COLLABORATION PROPOSALS?

The divisional review committees will be appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education in consultation with the divisional Associate Vice Chancellors for Research. Final award decisions will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education in consultation with the divisional Associate Vice Chancellors for Research.

IS THERE A COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH AGREEMENT REQUIRED?

Yes, if you are selected for an award there will be a “no fund” agreement between UW and industry that sets out the research project/relationship. (See template example.) This agreement will need to be placed in a WISPER record and routed through department and school/college research offices.