Q1.How have collaborative research and sponsored research systems changed since Tokyo Tech became an incorporated entity?
Previously, research work could not begin until research fees had been paid. Under the new rules, however, with the aim of ensuring a prompt start to projects, research activities can commence anytime after an agreement has been concluded, even if the research fees have not been paid.
Responsibility for licensing of patents, etc. has been transferred from national government organs to national universities. Taking advantage of this development, Tokyo Tech employs as much flexibility as possible when setting licensing conditions.
As was the case previously, it is possible to conduct research projects across more than one fiscal year.
Collaborative research has also been made subject to the 30% indirect expenses rule. (See the "indirect expenses" section for more details.)
The annual visitation fee for collaborative researchers is 802,800 yen, the same as the total fees paid by a first year student at Tokyo Tech. Until now, this fee has been applied across-the-board regardless of the term involved. From now on, however, the fee will be halved to 401,400 for terms of less than six months. Around 600,000 yen out of the total annual fee will be allocated to the host research lab.
Q2.When negotiations over the wording of a collaborative/sponsored research agreement are likely to take some time, -I'd like to start the research before the agreement is formally concluded. Is this possible?
A2.No, research work may only begin on or after the date on which the agreement is concluded.
Q3.Is it possible to start research under a collaborative/sponsored research agreement before the company has paid the research fee?
A3.Yes, if a formal agreement has been concluded, there is no need to wait until payment has been made before beginning your research.
Q4.How will collaborative research that doesn't involve transfer of research funds be handled (especially, in regard to indirect expenses)?
A4.It is conceivable that some collaborative research projects will involve Tokyo Tech and the company each conducting their own research separately and then bringing their respective research findings together. In such cases, Tokyo Tech is not carrying out any research at the company's request, so there is no transfer of research funds between the two parties and no indirect expenses are incurred. (If, however, Tokyo Tech does carry out research at the company's request, the company will in principle be required to cover both direct research expenses and indirect expenses of 30%.)
Q5.How is intellectual property handled in projects that involve only the hosting of a sponsored or collaborative researcher?
A5.For joint inventions by a sponsored or collaborative researcher and a Tokyo Tech faculty member, the faculty member's share of the invention will, in principle, be the property of Tokyo Tech. If a joint invention is made, please submit an invention notification. The sponsored or collaborative researcher's intellectual property will be handled under the regulations related to the framework of their appointment and the research agreement.
Q6.Until now we have been conducting collaborative research using a scholarship endowment. How will such arrangements work after incorporation?
There has been no official system for collaborative research using scholarship endowments to date, and no such system will be instituted in the future.
Scholarship endowments are donations to Tokyo Tech. Research conducted using them takes place in the absence of counter-performance (without any prior agreement on assignment of intellectual property arising thereby).
After incorporation, intellectual property in the findings of research using donations will be held by Tokyo Tech. Thus it will no longer be possible to meet companies' expectations that they will be assigned intellectual property held by individual faculty members.
Please note, however, that the Tokyo Tech warmly welcomes any donations from companies that accept the conditions outlined above.
Q7.Are contractual negotiations carried out by the Office of Industry Liaison?
The Office of Industry Liaison concludes all formal agreements with partner companies.
The performance of collaborative and sponsored research is closely tied to the nature of the research, implementation plans and schedules, recruitment of personnel, project scale, and other conditions, so the partner company and the faculty member in charge need to ensure that sufficient dialogue and consultation has taken place in advance. The Office would be grateful if, in the course of such dialogue, faculty members would explain the standard approach used at Tokyo Tech to their partners, by reference to applicable documents such as the Tokyo Institute of Technology Intellectual Property Policy (100KB), the sample Collaborative Research Agreement (MS WordR format, 106KB), and the sample Sponsored Research Agreement (MS WordR format, 57.4KB).
For matters that need to be negotiated in line with the standard approach used at Tokyo Tech, such as intellectual property and indirect expenses, the Office of Industry Liaison will negotiate directly with the partner company in consultation with the faculty member.
Q8.Is it possible to do collaborative research with an organization where I'm also working part-time? What about being employed by a collaborative research partner?
Under the post-incorporation regulations on part-time outside work, in some cases permission may be granted for work at a collaborative research partner. Outside work is limited to an average of eight hours per week, and after receiving permission you will need to file reports on your work hours and duties periodically (every six months).
However, if an invention arises in the course of collaborative research, it may be difficult to ascertain whether it was produced in your capacity as a Tokyo Tech faculty member or as an employee of the company where you do outside work. Rational and transparent rules for dealing with such issues will need to be prepared in advance.