Membership Agreements

Penn State's industry membership program is designed to support research in general areas that are of interest to multiple industry organizations. Additional principles that apply to all industry membership programs are:

  • Provide opportunity for interaction between industry members, faculty members, and students; 
  • Promote access to research results in a timely manner;
  • Enrich students' and postdocs' educational experience;
  • Maintain the University's role as a credible and impartial resource; and
  • Contribute to the University's primary mission of teaching and research.

The program objectives and descriptions are detailed in membership agreements that govern the membership program. To see a copy of the membership agreement template, click here. Because the nature of these programs offer the potential for diversion of academic objectives, it is important that membership-supported research programs be organized and maintained in ways that preserve both the independence and integrity of the University.

The membership agreement is to be used for purpose of establishing membership only. Industry membership programs should not be used to perform sponsored research to provide unique or preferential benefits to individual members. Separate Sponsored Research Agreements shall be used to perform research with specific costs, schedules, and/or deliverables that benefit individual member(s) rather than all members.

Requests to establish an industry membership program should be directed in writing to the Vice President for Research, with the concurrence of the Department Chair/Director and/or Dean.  The request should include the following:

  1. Name of the individual who will coordinate the program
  2. Brief description of the proposed program
  3. Specific benefits to be offered to members
  4. Anticipated number of faculty and graduate students who will participate
  5. Draft of the proposed membership agreement(s)
  6. Anticipated number of members by category
  7. Person responsible for invoicing and collecting membership fees

The Office of the Vice President for Research maintains a listing of all approved Industry Membership programs. For additional guidelines, please refer to RAG05, Establishing Research Institutes, Consortia, and Centers.