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Q&A

What is an I/UCRC?

An Industry/University Cooperative Research Center enables industrially-relevant, pre-competitive research via a multi-member, sustained partnerships among industry, academe, and government. IUCRCs offer a platform for significant leveraging of financial investment by members to accelerate the knowledge base in emerging technological and manufacturing sectors and develop an industrially savvy workforce to benefit US economy.

What are the different membership levels and associated costs?

Industry members agree to contribute $50,000 annually (or $25,000 annually for Foundations and start-ups.) Membership fees can also be in kind. Payments of these membership fees are made to the lead site as desired as a lump sum due May 1 of each year of sponsorship; or in four equal quarterly installments on May 1, August 1, November 1, and January 1 of each year of sponsorship.

How long should I plan on being a member of the center?

The type of research done by the center takes time and research results may not be obvious immediately, your company should join center with the intention of remaining a fee-paying member for at least two years. However, your company may terminate this Agreement by giving the University ninety (90) days written notice prior to the termination date.

What are the membership benefits of The BRAIN Center?

As a member you:

  • Pool funds together to conduct pre-competitive research of relevance to industry partners
  • Meet 2 times/year to review discoveries and collectively vote to recommend which projects to fund.
  • Have access to expert faculty, highly skilled students, and center resources at all sites.
  • Have rights to a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to generated intellectual property.
  • Rapid response for teaming up to program announcement for large federal grants.
  • Priority access for recruiting highly skilled and industry-specific graduates from the Center.
  • Short and long-term sabbatical periods from industry staff at Center labs and from Center faculty to industry.
  • Opportunity for degree-granting programs for industry personnel with mentorship from Center faculty.

How does Intellectual Property work within the center?

The Universities reserve the right to publish in scientific or engineering journals the results of any research performed by the center. Members, however, shall have the opportunity to review any paper or presentation containing results of the research program of the Center prior to publication of the paper, and shall have the right to request a delay in publication for a period not to exceed sixty (60) days from the date of submission to the Member, provided that the Member makes a written request and justification for such delay within thirty (30) days from the date the proposed publication is submitted by certified mail to the Member.

All patents derived from inventions conceived or first actually reduced to practice in the course of research conducted by the Center shall belong to the University. The University, pursuant to chapter 18 of title 35 of the United States Code, commonly called the Bayh-Dole Act, will have ownership of all patents developed from this work, subject to “march-in” rights as set forth in this Act.

The University agrees that all such Center sponsors are entitled to a nonexclusive royalty-free license to such patents. Members will have the right to sublicense their subsidiaries and affiliates. Companies that wish to exercise rights to a royalty-free license agree to reimburse the University for costs of prosecution and maintenance of such patents.

If only one Member seeks a license, that Member shall have the right to negotiate a royalty-bearing exclusive license to such patents through one of its agents. MEMBER has the right to sublicense its subsidiaries and affiliates.

Copyright registration shall be obtained for software developed by the Center. Members shall be entitled to a nonexclusive, royalty-free license to all software developed by the Center. Members will have the right to enhance and to re-market enhanced software with royalties due to the Center to be negotiated, based on the worth of the initial software.

Any royalties and fees received by the University under this Agreement, over and above expenses incurred, will be distributed as per the University policy.

When is the best time to sign up for membership?

The BRAIN center accepts new members at any time throughout the year. However, BRAIN research projects are selected on an annual basis, so members should allow enough time to form a team and submit a project for review in the spring.

When is the next Industry Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting?

The next IAB meeting will be held virtually November 4-5, 2021

How are research projects selected?

After all presentations regarding all proposed projects have been completed during the Center’s IAB Annual meeting, the IAB members will hold a voting meeting.

Each IAB member can vote for 5 projects, rank ordering the 5 most important projects where a score of 5 is the most important project, and a 1 is the least important of the 5 projects most valued by the IAB member. Projects receiving a score of 5 from one or more IAB members will definitely be selected for funding, and should assume that they will provide significant interaction with corresponding one or more industrial partners.

Remaining projects which did not receive one or more scores of 5, but which otherwise have strong voting support will then contend for any remaining industrial support funding. For each university with remaining industrial support funding, additional projects will be selected from the highest cumulative scores and will be recommended for support. PI’s will be given a week to respond to comments and then reviewers will have a week to review revisions and then submit a final vote.

Following the voting, the IAB chairman and the university representatives will review the results to assure that available funds have been properly allocated. In particular, multi-university co-operative projects of larger scale may require greater levels of funding than individual projects.
Additional meetings will be held throughout the year to review progress on the selected projects, and assure additional guidance as necessary. Such meetings are often held in the Fall or Winter. Members who are unable to attend may email their votes to the IAB chair or in writing to a selected proxy.

What are my responsibilities as an Industry Advisory Board (IAB) member?

The Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) will review and make recommendations on all research activities. Each industrial partner who completes the Membership Agreement will receive a seat on the IAB.

IAB Chair: The Center IAB chair will preside over meetings of the IAB, including closed sessions at the Center review meetings, and will contemplate and rule on requests to invite guests to Center meetings. The IAB Co-Chair will substitute for the IAB Chair in the case that the latter is not available to attend the Center Meetings.

Center Executive Committee: The Center Executive Committee will consist of the Chair of the IAB, the Center Director, and co-Directors. The Center Executive Committee will discuss and approve/modify the center by-laws, operations, voting process, and project selection based on the IAB vote and recommendations.

Pre-proposals will be evaluated by IAB members, and IAB members working with BRAIN directors will select the projects to be presented during the summer BRAIN I/UCRC Semi-Annual meeting for consideration for funding.

Each IAB member must be present or may be represented by proxy during each BRAIN I/U CRC Semi-Annual meeting. For projects with IAB members voting on funding, the IAB member’s or representative’s attendance during the BRAIN I/U CRC Semi-Annual Meeting and closed-door IAB meeting is mandatory and a vote is expected. If an IAB member or representative is not in attendance, his/her vote will go to a pool and will be distributed evenly among other projects requesting funding.

How do I become a member?

Please contact our lead site, the University of Houston to to discuss opportunities for your company to be a part of this center.

UH Contacts: Center Director Jose L Contreras-Vidal, jlcontreras-vidal@uh.edu 

Jenny Fula Torrijos, UH Program Manager, lyfulato@central.uh.edu