Berkeley Research Infrastructure Commons

The Berkeley Research Infrastructure Commons (Berkeley RIC) is an agglomeration of campus shared research facilities and services that are also available to industry users for commercial purposes under commercial fees and rate structures. For any questions not answered below, email ric@berkeley.edu


Industry users, including startups and small and medium-sized businesses, can quickly and easily leverage RIC capabilities via business-friendly standardized agreements that can be expeditiously executed by UC Berkeley’s business contracts office.

If you can't find the research and development capabilities that you need in the RIC, then explore the RIC-temp programThe RIC-temp program (previous called the SSUFIE program) is an extension of Berkeley RIC capabilities, enabling early stage (pre-product sales) startup companies affiliated with UC Berkeley to temporarily conduct new product R&D in faculty labs—under certain conditions and rigorous oversight. 

UC Berkeley staff and faculty can apply to have their campus research facility added to the Berkeley RIC by submitting this 1-page RIC application

A web page with a list of RIC facilities and services will be posted soon. In the interim, see this tentative list of UC Berkeley core facilities and shared resources for specialized technology and technical expertise.

Download these sample Berkeley RIC contracts, and review the chart outlining key elements of the agreements for access to facilities and routine services. (Please be aware of version control numbers in the filenames and footers)

RIC Access Agreement in PDF and Word (version 210514a)

RIC Routine Services Agreement in PDF and Word (version 210514a )
 

The Berkeley RIC leverages the excess capacity of core research facilities, streamlining the process for companies to make use of these campus assets at market rates that contribute to the resource's financial stability. Faculty or staff must apply to have their facility included in the RIC. Facilities that join the RIC can take advantage of standardized, business-friendly, readily executable agreements, which eliminate unnecessarily onerous terms and cumbersome contracting processes that have discouraged industry use in the past.

Subject to the straightforward terms and conditions of the RIC Access Agreement and RIC Routine Services Agreement, the university won’t claim an ownership interest in any IP, materials or data that results from industry use of the RIC. Additionally, the university won’t reserve the right to use any IP, materials or data resulting from RIC use by companies. The straightforward, business-friendly agreements are intended to be non-negotiable and electronically executable (e.g. via Docusign).

UC Berkeley soft launched the pilot phase of the RIC in early April 2021, with a standardized RIC Access Agreement and RIC Routine Service Agreement. If your company is interested in leveraging the RIC, then contact the specific research facility’s management, or the BEGIN concierge service.

Our goal for the Berkeley RIC is for it to emerge as the planet's largest, multi-faceted campus of R&D facilities, available for industry and academia, administered by a single entity, with streamlined agreements, contracting, and provisioning. The RIC will become a core asset of Berkeley’s world-class I&E ecosystem, and a key attraction for trailblazing, R&D-intensive entrepreneurs and their startups. As a result, the RIC will also help Berkeley faculty maintain, upgrade, and expand their research capabilities by facilitating additional recharge revenue during hours when facilities are not in use for academic research.

We designed the RIC to serve the needs of startups and small companies in UC Berkeley’s accelerators and incubators as well as those in our local area. The RIC allows for fee-based use of on-campus instruments and services, typically during weekends and evenings when the facilities aren’t being used for academic research purposes.

We started piloting the RIC in early April, and are targeting a fully integrated platform (that includes provisioning) later this year. UC campuses, Berkeley included, have long provided fee-based external access to on-campus instruments and services. But the procedures governing this access and the associated contracting process were cumbersome and ad hoc.

The RIC is available when facilities have excess capacity, which could be nights and weekends, or other times, depending on the facility and the instrument. Industry use of campus research instruments and services must not crowd out campus academic research, which includes faculty, postdocs, graduate students, undergraduates, visiting scholars, etc. Making sure that the Berkeley RIC is mission-advancing for Berkeley requires that we hold fast to this rule.

The revenues that the RIC generates for the campus and for the relevant labs are reinvested in maintaining and upgrading research instruments, services and other research-supporting needs on campus. This makes us even stronger in our research mission, helps attract and retain the best faculty, and also contributes to Berkeley’s service mission (in supporting our community’s new companies, the jobs they create, etc.).

RIC facilities include but are not limited to: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), DNA Sequencing and Genomics, Single Crystal and Powder X-Ray Crystallographic Analysis, Elemental Analysis, Biomolecular Nanotechnology, and Mass Spectrometry.

The template agreements that have been vetted by the campus Legal, Risk, and Business Contract teams and have been tested with potential users are specific about there being no inventive contribution from any UC employee. Accordingly, any IP generated belongs to the external entity using the service. This is essential for the platform to be valued by external entities, and is also consistent with past, ad hoc contracting. The recently issued UCOP Exception to Policy letter supporting this non-standard UC IP policy is available on request to UC people.

We plan to develop a user interface that will allow external users to execute agreements and make reservations on an integrated platform that -- so long as our market-tested templates are used -- should generate confirmation and UC approvals within 24 hours. The approvals can be this fast because the templates are pre-vetted and conform to UC’s policies. The platform should also have “Docusign” efficiency in the way it is routed for final campus approval.

Many top-tier research universities offer some fee-based use of research facilities and services to industry. But no other university to our knowledge has built anything as comprehensive, user-supporting, and mission-advancing as the Berkeley RIC.

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