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Industry FAQs

Answers to common questions about working with McMaster University



1) What types of research interactions are possible?

McMaster researchers work with industry partners in a wide variety of ways, including:

  1. Collaborative research projects and contracts, some of which may be eligible for government matching funds
  2. Use of unique McMaster facilities on a fee-for-service basis
  3. Gifts and endowments (including endowed chairs) designated for colleges, schools, departments, or individuals
  4. University-industry exchange programs and student internships or co-op placements
  5. Participation of industry representatives on various advisory groups

2) What are the typical terms in a sponsored research agreement?

Standard terms include:

  1. Publication rights allowing McMaster faculty and students to publish the results of the research in scientific journals
  2. Rights to the research results, terms usually include a first offer to negotiate a licence to the intellectual property developed
  3. Confidentiality terms

3) Is my company eligible for matching funding programs to do research at the university?

There are several federal and provincial granting agencies that have research funding programs to match industry dollars being spent on research carried out at McMaster. In general, the industry partner must be a Canadian company. The amount of funding and possible leveraging will depend on the research project. Details of program guidelines and eligibility requirements for companies can be found at the granting agencies website:

  1. Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC) – programs to support graduate students, post-doctoral fellows for research ranging from early stage to prototype development, particularly in the areas of science, engineering and business.
  2. Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – programs to support undergraduate and graduate students for research
  3. Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) – programs to support graduate students, post-doctoral fellows for research ranging from early stage to prototype development, particularly in the areas of Life Sciences.

Please contact the McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO) for more information regarding matching research funding programs.

4) How long does it take to negotiate an agreement with McMaster?

It depends on the circumstances, such as the nature of the research collaboration, involvement of students and intellectual property terms, but typically it takes between two to four weeks to finalize the terms of a standard research agreement. This may be shorter or longer depending on the number of changes requested by the parties.

5) What are the benefits to working with the university?

There are a number of benefits, including:

  1. Access to specific research expertise from McMaster professors
  2. Potential for matching funds through various federal and provincial government programs
  3. Access to state of the art equipment and resources
  4. Potential for tax (SR&ED) credits for Canadian companies

6) What areas of research expertise are available at McMaster?

McMaster has many research centres, which house unique resources and equipment.    

7) Who do I contact if I want to collaborate on a research project with a professor at McMaster?  What is the agreement process?

Once a research project has been developed between the McMaster professor and a scientist at a company, contact should be made with MILO. Each university faculty is assigned a research contracts officer to handle all industry research agreements. The research contracts officer will contact the company and work with both the company and the McMaster professor to begin and finalize the contract negotiations.

8) Why does the University enter into licenses?

Development and sale by industry of products resulting from university inventions ensure that university research becomes available to the public and thus assists in fulfilling the university's public service mission. Some of the most advanced and innovative research comes from Canadian university laboratories. Through licensing, companies can have access to state of the art technologies, affording them an opportunity to improve their economic competitiveness in the world economy. In addition, license proceeds, such as royalties, provide additional funds for the university's education and research mission.

9) What technologies do you have available for licensing?

McMaster’s Industry Liaison Office (MILO) is continuously receiving new invention disclosures from its researchers. Refer to our website for a comprehensive list of technologies available for licensing. Please contact MILO for further information.

10) How does MILO identify licensees?

Targeted marketing of the technologies available occurs but faculty contacts are the primary source of license opportunities. In addition, some companies solicit the university for particular types of technology.

11) What terms does a typical licence agreement contain?

The length and complexity of a licence agreement can vary depending upon the subject technology and the business of the commercial party. Basic terms include:

    • Grant of licence (exclusive or non-exclusive, field of use restrictions)
    • Territory (e.g. worldwide or Canada only)
    • Up front and licence maintenance fees, royalties, and/or other licence consideration
    • Responsibilities for patent maintenance and reimbursement
    • Technology development obligations of licensee (milestones and performance obligations)
    • Confidentiality, while still maintaining publication and academic research rights retained by the university
    • Indemnification and insurance requirements by the licensee
    • Default provisions and return of technology to the university in the event of bankruptcy

12) How is the licence finalized?

MILO negotiates licence terms with interested parties with the intention of reaching a fair, mutually beneficial, reasonable agreement which complies with university policies on publication, conflict of interest and research integrity.

13) Can more than one company license a technology at the same time?

Yes, depending on the technology, a licence can either be:

  1. non-exclusive, which means several companies can license the same rights to a technology, or
  2. restricted to a field of use or geographical area, which means several companies can license different rights to a technology. For example, Company A has rights to use the licensed technology only in North America, while Company B has rights for Europe.

In other circumstances, it may be more beneficial for all parties if the technology is licensed exclusively, whereby only one company has all the rights to exploit the technology, excluding all others.

14) Who do I contact if I want to license technologies from McMaster?

If there is a particular technology that you are interested in licensing, please contact the Industry Liaison Officer provided with the non-confidential information. Alternatively, if there is no contact provided or if you are interested in finding out about other technologies available, please contact Elsie Quaite-Randall, Executive Director, McMaster Industry Liaison Office.