Working With WSU

The IREO Role
The Innovation and Research Engagement Office (IREO) staff serve to help partners navigate WSU. We work with you to problem solve, get projects started and, where possible, grow interaction.  As with any large organization, WSU has many operational units that are likely to be involved in any organizational partnership; contracting, billing, project management, reporting and IP licensing are all managed by different groups within the WSU system. The IREO serves as your WSU internal champion who can coordinate across WSU units to build successful and sustainable partnerships.  

Getting Started     

If you are looking for expertise, IREO can help you find the right WSU assets and work with you to put in place the appropriate type of organizational agreements. If you already have the expertise or asset(s) identified, we can work with you to find the right path to start the partnership. In many cases, some of the first steps will involve getting a Confidentiality Agreement or a Memorandum of Understanding setup to facilitate discussion and align interests.

Modes for interaction with WSU infrastructure and expertise


Organizations can make donations to a WSU lab to support research. While these can be very convenient and involve very little administrative effort, they cannot, however, come with promises for project deliverables. 

Service Centers

These are structures within WSU that are specifically setup to offer a product or service to a customer. They provide products and/or data that a customer can use in an unrestricted fashion. Engagement with a service center allows for access to certain WSU capabilities but does not include access to new intellectual property or discovery-based research.  Learn more about WSU Research Services and Instrumentation by clicking here.

Sponsored Contracts

These are the most common structures for research-based collaborations. As described below WSU has a few different types of contracting vehicles structured to manage different types of risks for both you and WSU. Our standard contract, outlines contacts, project scope, duration, intellectual property rights, mechanisms for termination, reporting, publication processes and notifications. 


These only apply when an existing work product, patent and/or piece of software has been established or created and a private party wants to use the work product. These agreements may or may not involve payments for the rights that are provided. The Office of Commercialization leads efforts to negotiate these contracts.


The WSU Faculty can engage in consulting work for up to 20% of their time. This is considered as work done outside of their WSU appointment. All efforts thus need to remain independent of WSU resources and infrastructure. Faculty independently manage any needed contracting and billing.

Specialized Sponsored Contract Types

WSU has developed two distinct types of specialized sponsored contracts that serve to manage distinct barriers to initiating a partnership. One is focused on streamlining WSU administrative processes for small projects in order to quickly initiate new activity. The second serves to manage concerns around costs to access intellectual property associated with a project. 

Broad Industry Project Agreements (BIPA)

These function to enable simple interactions with industry. They provide a mechanism to engage in testing, routine analysis, or material production activities with a very low transaction cost. BIPA contracts are intended to serve as a bridge that initiates an interaction with an industry partner that the faculty member can grow into larger projects. They intend to provide a route to engage in “service center like” work without the need to establish a service center.

Attributes of BIPA:

  • Simple, non-negotiable 1-page agreement provides partner access to results of the work
  • Does not restrict ability to publish information or provide access to WSU intellectual property
  • Reduces administrative overhead to enable focusing resources onto the project work
  • Projects are capped at $40,000

Contracting Acceleration Program (CAP)

These agreements streamline the process of sponsoring research and licensing the resulting technology by combining both functions. The CAP allows industry sponsors and WSU researchers to choose from a variety of up-front licensing options for intellectual property that results from sponsored research projects as an alternative to the traditional model of negotiating after the intellectual property is developed. This provides certainty for the sponsor and limits their potential costs. CAP agreements work best for highly applied projects where the expected outcomes specifically benefit a sponsor or improve or refine a sponsor’s product or offering. CAP agreements are not intended to be used in association with basic or exploratory research: They specifically aim to reduce risk for potential partners and simplify the overall contracting process.

Attributes of CAP:

  • Provides sponsor all of the rights and restrictions in the standard sponsored contract
  • In addition the CAP template includes key financial terms for IP access post project
  • Provides a range of access options with distinct financial commitments associated with access level
  • No cap on project size