George Mason Signs Research Agreements with Industry

Posted: October 29, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

George Mason recently signed umbrella agreements with the Raytheon Company and Lockheed Martin Undersea Systems under which the companies can fund research undertaken by George Mason faculty.

“The umbrella agreement works out the difficult issues such as title to intellectual property and publication rights,” says Jennifer Murphy, director of the Office of Technology Transfer. “It establishes the framework for all of the business issues, and saves us from having to go in and renegotiate those issues for every project.” The agreements specify that George Mason retains the ownership of the intellectual property and the right to publish research papers on projects, while ensuring that the sponsors have appropriate access to inventions that may develop from the research.

The Lockheed Martin agreement, which was one and one-half years in the making, also involved Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University, and the College of William and Mary. The initiative was significant in defusing industry’s perception that universities are all different and are difficult to work with, says Christopher Hill, vice provost for research. “There’s enormous political value to it,” he says.

George Mason faculty members have collaborated on research projects with both companies in the past, says Ann McGuigan, director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, and already five projects are ongoing under the new agreement: four with Raytheon and one with Lockheed Martin. She estimates that having the umbrella agreements saves three to six months in negotiating time for each project.

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