The office of Corporate Engagement and Research Support (CERS), within Texas A&M AgriLife, is focused on assisting faculty and unit heads in the engagement of corporate entities that are interested in larger, multi-disciplinary, sponsored research opportunities. Sponsored research typically involves AgriLife faculty working with an external entity to conduct mutually beneficial research where the intellectual contributions of our faculty (individually or in collaboration with external parties) create tangible outcomes and in some instances, the development of Intellectual Property (IP).
AgriLife faculty interested in working with an external entity with the assistance of CERS should engage our office early in the process. Let us help you follow the steps below to build successful and professional relationships.
**Not all corporate-sponsored R&D must follow the process outlined below. For projects where CERS involvement is not requested, please contact the AgriLife Contract Office.**
1. Obtaining a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA)
Are you planning to visit with an outside company about your research? Did you know AgriLife faculty are required to obtain a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) with the company before sharing any confidential information with a potential sponsor? Click here to request and Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) form.
2. Executive Summary (ES)
An executive summary, of a full proposal, is a brief overview designed to give senior-decision makers a quick preview of its contents. Its purpose is to consolidate the principal points of a potential proposed R&D collaboration. After reading the summary, the main points should be evident. That’s why they are called executive summaries — the audience is usually someone who makes funding, personnel, and/or policy decisions and needs information quickly and efficiently. It is important to note here that a budget is NEVER included in an ES. Why? Because at this point in the process, the researcher usually does not know exactly what the potential sponsor wants.
Feel free to contact the office of CERS for an ES template, advice, and/or assistance.
After feedback is received from the potential sponsor, the ES is then revised and takes the form of a full proposal. A full proposal includes a Scope of Work (SOW), milestones and deliverables, and a budget. Every scope of work should contain five elements — the “who, what, when, where, how, and why” of a proposed research or testing project. Each final proposal must be approved by the AgriLife Contract Office before it is sent to the potential sponsor.
If you would like assistance with your corporate engagement process or proposal templates, feel free to reach out to the office of CERS.
4. Contract Agreement
During the proposal preparation process, the AgriLife Contract Office assists faculty with executing contracts between AgriLife and external entities for the purposes of conducting research. The nature of each research project will determine the type of agreement necessary.
CERS is happy to help AgriLife faculty in any of the steps above.