Access to Argonne technology, facilities, and research assistance is available to industry, universities, and other federal agencies through a number of partnership models:
- Licenses: Argonne's licensing program gives companies opportunities to acquire rights to Argonne inventions and copyrights. Licenses may be nonexclusive or exclusive, depending on the nature of the intellectual property and the business fields to be actively pursued by the licensee.
- Nondisclosure Agreements: Argonne uses nondisclosure agreements to protect a company's proprietary information while it is in Argonne's possession. Nondisclosure agreements are also used to enable Argonne to provide companies with confidential Argonne information.
- Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA): Cost-shared research and development, where funds are provided by both the partner and Argonne, is usually conducted under a cooperative research and development agreement.
- Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP; formerly known as Work for Others Agreements): The SPP program is a sponsored research program in which Argonne performs research for outside organizations, including private sector firms and federal agencies other than the U.S. Department of Energy. The entire cost to conduct the research is paid for by the client.
- User Agreements: Argonne hosts several large and unique research facilities, such as the Advanced Photon Source and the Argonne Leadership and Computing Facility, that can be used by industry and research organizations to significantly advance their research projects. These facilities provide a level of research and analysis that is out of the reach of most organizations. After submission and acceptance of an application or project proposal, outrside researchers can access these facilities through user agreements.
- Technical Service Agreements: Argonne staff can provide short-term technical assistance, not including R&D, to organizations with technical problems requiring expertise that is not available commercially. The cost to the organization is the full cost of Argonne's effort. If the proposed activity is well defined, a Technical Service Agreement generally can be executed within 5-10 business days.
- Material Transfer Agreements: Materials produced by researchers at Argonne may be of interest to the private sector. Depending on the circumstances under which the material was developed, such material may be transferred to industry for a number of reasons, including testing and feasibility studies. This transfer is usually temporary and can initiate a more formal working arrangement.
- Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR): These programs allow federal agencies to set aside a fraction of their R&D funds specifically for small businesses. These funds can be used to do R&D work with Argonne's scientific and engineering staff. Argonne, however, does not provide SBIR/STTR funding.