Under Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, small businesses are encouraged to partner with a research university to perform innovative research and/or to assist in technology transfer from the university. A university employee may form a small business and participate in an SBIR/STTR project only through a written contract between the university and the company approved in accordance with university policy that outlines the employee’s responsibilities and/or university benefits.
SBIR/STTR programs can produce a variety of complex situations and must be carefully reviewed to identify any potential conflicts of interest (COI) and to comply with the university’s COI and other applicable policies. Therefore, employees are required to comply with the following:
- A university employee with any role on an SBIR/STTR project must submit the grant application through the Office of Research Services (ORS) for the appropriate reviews to take place before submission of the application to the funding agency.
- The Principal Investigator for the small business SBIR/STTR application and the Principal Investigator for the subcontract to the university must be different individuals.
- Prior to submission of the grant application, the company must provide evidence of availability of functioning space in which research activities can and will take place. If use of any OU facilities by the company is anticipated, a commercial lease with OU Real Estate Operations must be executed. The lease is executed following the submission of the proposal but prior to the award date. The company will need to adhere to all requirements outlined in the lease, including securing appropriate insurance.
- The researcher, acting on behalf of the company, must not use the university’s physical address, their OU email address, or their OU phone number as the participating company’s contact information. Such information cannot be included on forms and/or any correspondence with a sponsor (e.g., lease agreement; SBIR/STTR contract with the university).
- If there is any dual employment, conflict of interest documents (disclosure form, review form, management plan) must be submitted. If serving as the principal investigator on an SBIR award for the company, the OU employee must also work through the relevant college/department to reduce the OU appointment to a maximum of 49% effort.
- Prior to the start of the project, an SBIR/STTR contract between the university and the company must be executed which includes a clear distinction between the work done by or on behalf of the Company and the work performed by or on behalf of the university.
- The company involved in the SBIR/STTR program must be registered with the State of Oklahoma and must be separate from any OU property or identifiers (e.g., email address).
- SBIR/STTR programs require an allocation of rights agreement which must be reviewed by the Office of Technology Commercialization.