Industry Engagement – TCD Principles
Underpinning Principles for TCD Industrial Engagement
1. The purpose of research in our Universities is three-fold:
- generation of scholarship for teaching and training;
- satisfying the human need to understand our environment and ourselves;
- generation of a socio-economic return to society.
2. Socio-economic return is normally by commercialisation of knowledge in the form of intellectual property (whether or not protected by patent or copyright) and also by the deployment of the skills of trained graduates in enterprise, both public and private. The Universities’ mission is further advanced by embedding researchers within industry, facilitating knowledge transfer and upskilling in both directions and we recognise that this can lead to interesting outcomes beyond the commercial.
3. In the commercial deployment of research-derived intellectual property, cognisance must be taken of the background core mission of the university, the interests of those who generate the knowledge and the interests of the sponsors of the research.
4. The sponsors of research in Ireland almost always include the Irish State / public sector and oftentimes industry and other forms of public and private enterprises.
5. In the case of research that is exclusively publicly funded, our economic purpose is to deploy any intellectual property that arises for the benefit of Irish society in the first instance and to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. The benefit to the University needs to be appropriately considered and the return to those individuals responsible for originating the research also needs to be clarified. Our starting point for such commercialisation of Irish-funded research relates to the holistic benefit for Ireland.
6. The State can achieve maximum return through our Open Innovation policy approach provided that there are sufficient national policy safeguards to ensure commercialisation occurs in Ireland directly or indirectly. Our approach is based on defining and protecting intellectual property – but only so that it can accrue value and realise delivery of the highest return – we will always endeavour to fully assess the commercial potential of our intellectual property before moving to protect.
7. In collaboration or through partnership, any outward flow of IP should be counterbalanced by either an inward revenue or investment flow linked to licensing, or to agreements to create a related new spin-in or spin-out venture.
8. We accept that our most immediate return from partnership will be through enhancement of our core mission in the quality of education and research – provided that the full costs of the research are recovered with appropriate recompense to render engagements meaningful and more than just subcontracted service. The wider return to the Irish State and to the University follows from a community of companies who have benefited from the IP and who are inclined to assume support for on-going research or to philanthropically support the University in the long term.
9. The return to the individual consists of satisfaction in being able to engage in excellent research and international recognition for that excellence. It also consists of creating avenues for the employment of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and undergraduates in the enterprises that benefit and that need high quality skills. Finally, there is the opportunity to participate directly in the commercialisation of the intellectual property and to realise personal and financial gain in the process.
10. Our University has the responsibility to ensure that useful knowledge is appropriately protected and that efficient mechanisms for the deployment of IP are in place and consistent with our Open Innovation objectives. We recognise that ownership of intellectual property does not necessarily convey an ability to derive value from that intellectual property and accordingly we are open to models for onward assignment of ownership of IP so as to best meet its commercial potential and ensure future return from same.
11. In the case of research sponsored by enterprise, any public funding part (including the fully costed input of our state-funded academic staff) will have the same purpose as above and the criteria that the research promotes the core mission of the Uuniversityies will also apply. The balancing objective in this policy is how best to satisfy the needs of the fourth stakeholder in a way that promotes the rapid deployment of IP and that generates a long term economic return for Ireland.
12. Our goal is to position our University as a partner of choice in joint / collaborative research with industry. We intend that industry will have sufficient confidence to bring its most important problems to the table. We recognise and accept that industry will feel that it should always have some right to the IP whether or not the IP can be couched as coming wholly from the academic side in the joint research. We accept that in such instances the sponsoring /collaborating industry partner(s) will be better placed to commercialise output than the academic institution. Accordingly in such cases, we stipulate that industry shall have the first right of refusal on all IP from such programmes and if it cannot exercise that right, provision must be made so that the IP can be opened for deployment by other means – ideally through the creation of new Irish-based ventures.
13. We undertake, in cases where the full costs of the research are carried directly or indirectly by our industry partners and the core mission of the institution is advanced by the research, that the translation of knowledge to the participating industry will be the primary goal and should be achieved as efficiently and quickly as possible.
14. We contend that, subject to national policy and contractual obligations to sponsors, the return to our University derived from commercialisation led by industry partners should be couched in the following order of priority,:
- advancing the core mission of the University in excellent education and research while satisfying the professional needs of our academic staff;
- ensuring a long term productive relationship with the industrial partner;
- ensuring financial return through negotiated royalties or other licensing agreements aligned to the core mission of the University.
15. We undertake that all of our research partnerships, commercial agreements, negotiations and expectations and resultant licenses will be developed in keeping with the above core principles, they will be simple in structure and will avoid unnecessary legality, jargon or complexity of language.