Industry Sponsored Institutes

The guidelines below describe how principal investigators and staff can set up, launch, and administer an Industry Sponsored Institute smoothly, successfully, and sustainably. The best practices are based on UC Berkeley's experience establing and running successful Industry Sponsored Institutes (ISI or Institute).

Creating and running an Institute is a major commitment and investment of university leadership and administrative resources. These guidelines highlight program design and budgeting best practices for accurately estimating time, complexity, and costs (e.g., leadership, sponsor-relationship management, accounting and fund management, gift management, subaward management, procurement, facilities, intellectual property management).

Faculty and campus leadership can avoid common pitfalls involved in setting up an institute by building in the proper levels of support, whether provided by Institute faculty/staff or negotiated with the relevant campus units, when seeking to establish an Institute. 

If you would like to explore establishing an Industry Sponsored Institute at UC Berkeley with corporate funding, please fill out an IPIRA Concierge form. An IPIRA staff member will reach out to you and discuss the opportunity.

If you are interested in forming an institute with funding from a foundation or other non-profit entity (such as a U.S. or foreign university), or state or federal government funds, contact the Sponsored Projects Office for assistance

What is an Industry Sponsored Institute?

An Industry Sponsored Institute (ISI or Institute) is established, organized, hosted, and directed by Berkeley faculty and/or staff and funded by private industry. An Institute has these features:

  • • created through an ISI Master Agreement between UC Berkeley and an industry sponsor with appendices which may include: master sponsored research agreement and a form of task order, intellectual property license terms, lease agreement, and other appendices as relevant
  • • managed in the same manner as an organized research unit (ORU) (even if not officially designated as an ORU)
  • • focused on a defined area of research
  • • research projects are undertaken under the terms of a master sponsored research agreement and research task orders
  • • in support of research, the ISI Master Agreement funds provide for university operational and staff support, Institute governance, and, in some cases, lease of UC Berkeley space by a sponsor (negotiated by Real Estate Services and included in the ISI Master Agreement appendix). An ISI is more than a master sponsored research agreement. 

A successful, properly structured Industry Sponsored Institute:

  • furthers the University’s research mission
  • facilitates private funding of public research
  • has institute staff, space, and functions beyond research projects
  • educates students and provides career opportunities
  • enhances feedback from industry to inform academic research
  • facilitates the translation and commercialization of UC Berkeley research results

All industry-sponsored agreements (including ISI Master Agreements) are consistent with the following University principles:

  • Commitment to Educate Students
  • Accessibility for Research Purposes
  • Public Benefit
  • Informed Participation
  • Legal Integrity and Consistency
  • Fair Consideration for University Research Results, and
  • Objective Decision Making.

UC Berkeley’s Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances (IPIRA) works closely with Institute Executive Directors and the Institute sponsor to define the opportunity, negotiate terms, and launch and administer the Institute. IPIRA is part of your team, and we are here to help you.

What is the difference between a master research agreement and an ISI Agreement?

a) Master Research Agreement (“MRA”): 

  • Master terms and conditions
    • • Standard terms that apply across many projects.
  • SOWs for research projects.
  • Funding for research projects.

b) ISI Agreement:

  • MRAs:
    • • Can be special IP terms in consideration for substantial funding.
  • Operations and Ops funding.
  • Open collaborative space and proprietary space (proprietary only under a lease).
  • Governance structure.
  • Calls for proposals, with a joint steering committee for proposal selection.
  • Can include lease.