Industry Sponsored Institute Governance Model


Organized Research Unit

Institutes are typically organized and reviewed at UC Berkeley as organized research units (ORU). Depending on the complexity of the institute, UC guidelines for establishing multicampus research units (MRU) may be relevant.

UC Berkeley requirements for ORUs UC Office of...

Organizational Structure

Organized Research Unit 

Institutes are typically organized and reviewed at UC Berkeley as organized research units (ORU). Depending on the complexity of the institute, UC guidelines for establishing multicampus research units (MRU) may be relevant.

University Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

The ISI Master Agreement must contain a clear description of key Institute leadership positions and the roles of campus and Institute leadership in governance of the Institute. Every Institute must have one or more lead Principal Investigator(s) who is/are responsible for the overall research activities and use of funds by the Institute.

Executive Director/Co-Directors 

Every Institute has an Executive Director of the Institute who is responsible for overall oversight for the Institute, relationship with the industry sponsor(s), engagement of additional faculty, as well as fiduciary and research oversight. Often the lead Principal Investigator also serves as the Executive Director of the institute, however some institutes have a separate executive director. It is also possible to have two executive directors (co-directors). Aspects of institute administration may be delegated to an executive director and/or other Institute staff. Your IAO staff liaison can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different models, any special circumstances, and help you evaluate the best governance model for your Institute.

Roles and responsibilities include:

Leadership and Oversight

  • ensuring that research funded through the Master Agreement aligns with the Institute’s mission
  • performing specific duties as described in the Master Agreement
  • monitoring of research progress in accordance with budgets that are allocated to Institute-funded researchers
  • liaising between funded PIs and campus research administration
  • holding Institute PIs responsible for conduct under the guidelines in this document


  • operational costs including leasing space, purchasing equipment, and Institute staff support and additional campus support should be added to the Institute budget in early discussions
  • building a budget inclusive of all Institute needs, including operational and staffing support both within the Institute and central campus offices, surcharges for greater-than-average use of research administration services which may include intellectual property due diligence, and alliance management (whether provided directly by institute staff or IPIRA staff)
  • surcharges for greater than six (6) subawards per year (if needed)
  • surcharges for greater than eighteen (810) task awards per year within the Berkeley campus (if needed)
  • ensuring adequate resourcing of operational and staffing needs, including surcharges assessed on greater use of campus resources than provided by IDC
  • IPIRA retains the right, and is authorized, to renegotiate support if the scope, scale, and complexity of Institute awards and funding increases, for example by adding new sponsors, increasing funding, increasing the number of research projects, or changing the ratio of on-campus to subaward projects


  • production and delivery of research reports to the Institute sponsor
  • production and delivery of annual reports as ORU director to the VCR and to IPIRA

Subaward Oversight

  • overseeing subawards, including preparation through campus research administration
  • ensuring that relevant PIs funded under the Institute follow campus, University of California, and federal rules and processes regarding pre-award submissions, award management, invoicing, expenditures, reporting (technical and financial), and intellectual property rights
  • ensuring the training of subawardees on Berkeley requirements and processes and working with Institute pre-award Research Administrators to submit paperwork in a timely fashion

Principal Investigator 

A principal investigator (PI) is fully accountable for the role and responsibilities of managing each Research Project as well as any subawards under the Research Project. The PI is responsible for ensuring proper documents are uploaded to Phoebe for new awards and or any modifications. A PI works with their research administrator to administer project funds.

Research Administrator 

Just as with other sponsored projects, for ISI research projects a principal investigator's research administrator (RA) is involved in preparing budgets, proposals, subaward request forms, Phoebe records, and other research administration tasks for new awards and award modifications, and handling post award tasks.

Alliance/Program Manager 

An alliance manager works with the campus and sponsor researchers on contracting and research activities, as well as facilitating post-award matters, reporting, invoicing, and gift/grant matters. This position may also educate new researchers and third parties on matters pertaining to the nature of the Institute, program elements, Institute practices and procedures, collecting informed consent documents, and communicating to researchers what they can and can’t do under various ISI-related agreements. This person is also the primary interface between Institute sponsors and subawardee institutions and is involved with broader sponsor relationships which may overlap projects and programs that are outside of the ISI Master Agreement. Alliance Management Services offered by IPIRA may include alliance management, business development, strategic planning, and participation in advisory boards. FTE costs and/or stipend amounts can be provided by IPIRA on request for ISI budgeting.

Governing Board

Institute Governing Board

Effective Institute operations can require one or more governing boards along with a defined process for dispute resolution. Institutes may establish a governance structure to oversee direction of research, call for and selection of proposals, managing of the institute, reviewing intellectual property (in some cases), and resolution of disputes. The need for such boards depends in part on the magnitude of the funding, the complexity of the operations, or the need to reconcile processes across geographies. The model is described in the Master Agreement establishing the institute and must meet UC policy.