13.4 Establishment of Industrial Affiliates and Related Membership-Supported Programs

Presents principles, guidelines, and procedures for the establishment and operation of membership-sponsored programs designed to facilitate a productive relationship between Stanford and industry.


Questions about this policy can be answered by:

1. Introduction

Industrial Affiliates and related Stanford programs supported by corporate membership fees facilitate the transfer of knowledge into society and dialog between academia and industry. These programs also provide an effective way for industry to contribute to and sustain the research and teaching of the departments and programs in which they have long-term interests. However, the nature of these programs offers the potential for diversion of academic objectives. Thus, it is important that Industrial Affiliate programs be organized and maintained in ways that will preserve both the independence and integrity of the University.

The overriding principles which should apply to all Industrial Affiliate programs at Stanford include:

  1. Promotion of openness in research results
  2. Enrichment of students' and postdocs' educational experience
  3. Maintenance of the University's role as a credible and impartial resource
  4. Protection of faculty members' right to pursue research topics and methodology of their choice
  5. Conformance to the University's primary mission of teaching and research

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2. Program Guidelines

  1. Access to membership in Industrial Affiliate programs should be available equally to all companies prepared to meet the obligations of membership as set forth by each program, subject to constraints of program size and programmatic focus. Affiliate programs can offer facilitated access to Stanford's research programs and to relevant faculty and students. However, non-member companies must not be excluded from access to such resources, although the access by non-member companies sometimes may be in less convenient forms.
  2. Affiliate programs must be approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Research. No program will be approved which violates the rights and privileges of faculty or students or impairs the education of students or restricts their subsequent career choices.
  3. Principles of openness in research and dissemination of research results shall in no way be violated or abridged by interactions with member companies. Results of research activities funded by income from affiliate programs shall be made available to non-members in an open and timely manner.
  4. Industrial Affiliate programs should not detract from University resources available to Stanford faculty or students. In those programs which permit Industrial Affiliates to send representatives to campus to collaborate on research activities with participating faculty, selection procedures and criteria for selection of the industrial scholars should be consistent with procedures and standards applicable to other visiting scholars at the University.
  5. While member companies may offer suggestions for research activities, the involved faculty must be free to select research topics, adopt research methodology, select participants, and direct research funded by the programs.

The statements above are intended to provide standards for the formulation and direction of Stanford's Industrial Affiliate programs. They are not intended to serve as detailed regulations. In the case of doubt regarding the appropriateness of Stanford's interaction with Industrial Affiliates, the relevant deans and the Vice Provost and Dean of Research should be consulted.

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3. Request to Establish an Industrial Affilates Program Procedure

Requests to establish an Industrial Affiliates Program should be directed in writing to the Vice Provost and Dean of Research, with the concurrence of the Department Chair and School Dean. (See the document, Request for Approval of Industrial Affiliates Program, below in "Related Items".) This request should include:

  1. the name of the individual who will coordinate the program
  2. content of the proposed program
  3. specific benefits to be offered to members (see Related Items below.)
  4. number of faculty and graduate students who will participate
  5. potential market of companies who would be likely to participate in an ongoing basis.

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