New University of Alabama Program to Expand Research with Industry

New University of Alabama Program to Expand Research with Industry

A gloved hand holds a solar cell.
The Tide Research Partnership Program encourages companies to sponsor research opportunities at UA.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama is proud to announce the launch of the Tide Research Partnership Program. The program is designed to strengthen research and development partnerships with industry while accelerating opportunities for students to work on leading-edge solutions to some of society’s most challenging problems.

The Tide Research Partnership Program encourages companies to sponsor research opportunities at UA. It sets costs upfront for exclusive rights to possible intellectual property created by UA researchers while also increasing the percentage that inventors receive of future royalty payments.

“This new program encourages faculty participation and provides the direct opportunity for our faculty and students to benefit from strong research partnerships with industry,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “We believe this program will contribute to a fundamental change in the way industry interacts with UA that will extend well beyond any single research project.

“These new sustainable relationships will also become an opportunity for students to secure internships and employment with strategic industry partners,” Bell said.

Managed by the UA Office for Research and Economic Development, the Tide Research Partnership Program follows the launch of the office’s five-year strategic plan earlier this year, which, among other goals, aims to significantly expand engagement with industry.

“Standardizing contract and licensing terms makes the process more transparent and highly efficient and will allow our industry partners and inventors to more quickly bring innovative discoveries and technologies to the market,” said Dr. Russell Mumper, UA’s vice president for research and economic development. “This program is a win-win for UA, our business partners, and, ultimately, for Alabama taxpayers.”

The initiative allows a company an option to pre-pay a fee when executing a sponsored research agreement in exchange for exclusive worldwide rights to inventions that may result from the research. The upfront fee is designed to be affordable when compared to similar programs at other comprehensive research institutions.

Under the agreement, a portion of the upfront fee will go to the academic division and academic department that are part of the agreement, along with a portion that is shared with the principal inventor(s) on the project.

UA will receive 1% in royalties when the net sales of commercialized products using the technology exceed $10 million annually. Resulting royalties received from commercialized technologies will be shared per UA’s standard policy, except inventors will receive a larger percentage of royalty payments after expenses than in a traditional agreement.

Companies not electing to be part of the Tide Research Partnership Program will still be able to elect the traditional option of negotiating a royalty-bearing licensing at the time of an invention. This program does not apply to research funded through government or non-profit organizations. Licensing of intellectual property that receives federal funding is subject to other terms.


Chris Bryant, UA communications, 205-348-8323,; Adam Jones, UA communications, 348-4328,