The Sponsored Research Office within the Technology Development & Commercialization division at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory plays a key role in identifying and structuring the appropriate process and agreement tools that allow Argonne to work with our partners and sponsors.
Argonne performs a wide range of collaborative work with industry, small business, universities, and state, local, and federal government agencies, making it possible for our partners to access our multidisciplinary, world-class science and technology, experts, and research facilities.
Argonne uses a variety of agreements to develop partnerships. Three factors are considered when determining the most appropriate partnering mechanism:
- The goals of our partner or sponsor
- The funding sources specific to the agreement
- Argonne's strategic business objectives
Cooperative Research and Development Agreement
A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) defines and governs an Argonne-industry collaborative research relationship with the objective of advancing science and technology that not only benefits DOE and the nation, but also has the potential commercial applications of interest to our industrial partner.
CRADA opportunities provide industry with an excellent way to leverage and optimize research and development funds, and conduct research that might not otherwise be possible, in a protected and confidential environment. With such a collaborative agreement, DOE and private industry may jointly sponsor a project that contributes to the goals of each participating party, leveraging research efforts by both Argonne and the partner(s) involved.
Argonne and its partner(s) outside the federal government — usually from industry, nonprofit organizations, or academia — collaborate and share the results of a jointly conducted R&D project. Costs, personnel, facilities, equipment, or research capabilities are usually cost-shared for mutual benefit.
Companies are able to retain rights to their own inventions made under a CRADA and may be granted an option to Argonne inventions. Intellectual property created by Argonne under a CRADA agreement is retained by Argonne.
Strategic Partnership Projects (formerly Work for Others)
The technology base developed through Argonne’s work for DOE has created expertise and capabilities not found in industry or other government agencies. The Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP) agreement allows our sponsors access to our unique capabilities, facilities, and resources to resolve their scientific, engineering, and other critical technology challenges to address both private and national needs.
Sponsors — domestic or foreign — can come from private industry, including small business, universities, and state, local, and other federal government agencies. Sponsors pay the entire cost of the work to be performed on a full-cost-recovery basis. Under specific conditions, a company may take title to inventions created by Argonne under the SPP agreement.
SPP projects must complement Argonne and DOE missions and not hinder Argonne's execution of assigned DOE programs or be in direct competition with the domestic private sector.