Office of Partnerships and Innovation


Q. How do I engage Queen’s University in a collaborative project?
A. Calling the Research Partnerships Unit is an excellent starting point. Our liaison officers are familiar with hundreds of individual programs of research and they are also connected to hundreds of your potential suppliers and customers in the private and public sectors. They are experts in leveraged funding eligibility and can help you identify optimum strategies for funding R&D projects and realizing value-added outcomes.

Q. What types of agreements will need to be put in place to work with Queen’s?
A. A number of agreements are typically developed in the course of a collaborative project.  These would include; a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect all the parties regarding disclosure of information, a research collaboration agreement outlining the project scope, budget, and deliverables, negotiated terms related to Intellectual Property (IP) and publication rights; and potentially a contract from a supporting funding agency relating to its conditions on financial support and the agency's position with respect to IP.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) may also be developed to outline higher level engagement priorities and timelines.

Q. What does my business get from research collaboration with Queen’s?
A. ACCESS TO TALENT: A majority of our larger industrial collaborators use university partnered projects as part of their recruitment strategy, particularly for post-graduate level trainees who may be candidates for long-term R&D and business-development positions within the company. Research projects provide a low-risk platform for assessing a prospective candidate’s skills, aptitudes and interest in company activities.
ACCESS TO INNOVATION: Most of our industry partners are deeply engaged in commercialization programs and may miss opportunities to delve into emerging areas of research. Collaborating with university professors and research associates provides regular access to the cutting edge in curiosity-driven and applied methodologies. Several lucrative commercial innovations have had roots in the humble experimentation of small laboratory groups. 
ACCESS TO FACILITIES AND EXPERTISE: Research-intensive universities have highly-specialized R&D facilities and large professional cohorts of faculty, staff and students who can use these resources effectively. Our industry partners benefit greatly from leveraging our resources for “upstream” research collaborations that may shed light on the relative risk in major CAPEX in “downstream” R&D.  
COST-SAVINGS: Collaboration with Canadian universities is a precondition for scores of publicly funded research grants that “leverage” industry project supports (various combinations of cash and in-kind expenses, depending on the specific program). When leverage is combined with the Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax incentive program (SR&ED), the industry partner’s booked cost for project work completed by universities can be greatly reduced. 

Q. What are some of Queen’s R&D Strengths?
A. INTER-DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH: Queen’s is a “research-intensive”, “mid-sized” university. This means 1) that our research capacity includes an installed base of facilities and experts large enough to tackle all major threads of research inquiry (medicine, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, fine arts, law, business, etc.), and 2) our community of scholars is small enough to avoid the "silo-ing" of individual research programs inside niche sub-disciplines. Queen’s has a rich ecosystem of multi-partner research programs that span two, three, or more academic and professional boundaries. These partnerships very often provide our most outstanding research outcomes and some of the best opportunities for industry partners to get first-look engagement with disruptive innovations from academia.
RESEARCH EXCELLENCE: We are very proud of the extraordinary track record our faculty researchers have established as national leaders in per-capita career awards (e.g. Royal Society of Canada appointments). Our research leaders are keen partners in applied research, but remain rooted in curiosity driven, leading-edge investigations that expand the body of knowledge across all major academic disciplines. 
INNOVATION: Queen’s has historically outperformed peer institutions as a source of commercialized research. Much of this historical achievement is due to its technology transfer activities through PARTEQ, now integrated with the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, which promoted more than $1 billion in direct investment activity since its inception in the 1990’s. Since the mid-2000’s, the university’s network of innovation partners in the investment world and entrepreneur communities has expanded rapidly as university stakeholders press us to drive even more near-term economic benefit from R&D. Queen’s launched its first student-run venture capital fund in 2006. It launched the first university research park in Eastern Ontario in 2008. Through its research community, its Office of Partnerships and Innovation, and its student engagement and entrepreneurship initiatives, Queen’s collaborates with global entrepreneurs, investors and agencies to help industry partners monetize bright ideas and promote beneficial social innovations.

Q. Who owns the intellectual property from an industry-academic collaboration?

A. Each research collaboration will have project-specific terms and conditions governing intellectual property rights. The Research Contracts Unit within the Office of Partnerships and Innovation represents Queen’s in developing the necessary terms with our collaborators.

Our starting point is to affirm the rights of creators – if a party creates intellectual property, that party should own it. Jointly created intellectual property will be jointly owned. Once created, all collaborators will be informed of any new intellectual property. We strive to ensure collaborators have an opportunity to exploit project intellectual property developed by Queen’s either by license or assignment. Our Technology Transfer Unit can help negotiate the necessary assignments or license agreements between creators and partners. 

Where pre-existing intellectual property or confidential information is required for a project, it will only be used or disclosed with permission of the owner. We will never appropriate a collaborator’s intellectual property to conduct work outside of agreed projects.

Q. What other terms and conditions govern industry-academic collaborations at Queen’s?

A.  As a public university, Queen’s must have the ability to publish and educate others on the results of its research and to allow students to use their research to complete degree requirements on time. Before any disclosure, Queen’s can provide collaborators with reasonable opportunities to review the material i) to ensure it does not contain a collaborator’s proprietary or confidential information; and ii) to permit the collaborator to identify any intellectual property that may require protection before disclosure.

In addition to the freedom to publish, we will require full public disclosure of the funding amount, the general scope of work, and identification of the partners.

Other funding agencies providing additional support for a project may also impose their own terms and conditions concerning the use of funds, intellectual property, and publication of agency supported work.