Bayh-Dole Act

Ownership of inventions created at Michigan Tech that are the result of efforts conducted under an externally funded project are always dictated by the terms of the contract under which that funding was provided. While the contract terms for projects funded by industry, state governments, and foundations can vary, the invention ownership terms of federally sponsored projects are always the same as defined by federal law.

The Bayh-Dole Act was enacted into law in 1980 and specifically allows universities to retain ownership of inventions that result from federally funded research. Since its enactment, this law had a significant impact on both the economy and state of technology of the United States by encouraging investment in the commercial development and ultimate public dissemination of federally funded, university based innovations.

As stated in 37 CFR 401.14, an invention means, “any invention or discovery which is or may be patentable or otherwise protectable under Title 35 of the United States Code”. The legal standard is any invention or discovery “conceived OR first actually reduced to practice”.

Federal research sponsors are increasingly encouraging university research funding recipients to comply with the Federal Bayh-Dole Act reporting requirements by disclosing all inventions conceived or first actually reduced to practice using federal funds. While many federally sponsored inventions meet the requirements for patentability by being new and not obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art and licensing industry statistics demonstrate that relatively few have all the necessary characteristics for commercial viability. Recently however, federal agencies have been reminding institutions that Bayh-Dole requires the reporting of all inventions that may be patentable regardless of how likely they are to be commercially viable.

Some funding agencies appear to be moving in a direction of using disclosure rates, in part, to demonstrate the value of federal research programs. While commercial outcomes produce the most compelling of these arguments, the overall volume of potentially patentable inventions is also being used as a leading indicator of the potential impact of public investments in research.

Michigan Tech’s invention disclosure form can be downloaded from Draft manuscripts, presentations, and other written materials are acceptable as attachments to the invention disclosure to simplify completion and filing. University researchers that have questions about completing and submitting the form or about federal reporting requirements can contact Robin Kolehmainen at 7-1927 or

Graduate Student Estimating Tables for Proposal Budgets.

Research and Sponsored Programs has updated the graduate student estimating tables for stipend levels and tuition and fee rates. These rates are to be used in proposal budgets to external sponsors. You can find the tables at These rates are effective immediately.

Michigan Tech Tapped for State’s First Center of Energy Excellence

By Jennifer Donovan

Michigan Technological University has been selected to partner with Michigan State University and the Mascoma Corporation in Michigan’s first Center of Energy Excellence, Governor Jennifer Granholm announced at a press conference in Lansing this morning. The Center will be eligible for a $15 million grant from Michigan’s 21st Century Jobs Fund.

Michigan Tech, Michigan State and Mascoma will work with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and J.M. Longyear—a Marquette-based company that owns more than 65,000 acres of forest land in the Upper Peninsula—to develop the state’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant. The plant will be located in Chippewa County, south of Sault Ste. Marie.

Cellulosic ethanol offers a clean-burning and economical alternative to petroleum-based fuel and ethanol made from corn.

“We are honored that the State of Michigan recognizes the value of our expertise in biofuels,” said David D. Reed, vice president for research at Michigan Tech. “We have been exploring the frontiers of this field for some time through our Wood to Wheels research, and we look forward to working with Michigan State to support the development of Michigan’s biofuels industry.”

Michigan Tech will contribute its knowledge of sustainable forestry management practices and accessto its automotive engineering labs for analysis of the biofuels produced. Michigan State will provide expertise in pretreatment technology for cellulosic ethanol production and assistance with renewable energy crops that can be used by the biorefinery.

The universities will each receive an estimated $1 million to analyze issues related to the availability and cost of supplying the wood fiber and other plant materials to produce cellulosic ethanol.

Michigan is in a race with a firm in Georgia to open the first commercial-scale plant for producing cellulosic ethanol. The Massachusetts-based Mascoma Corporation announced its decision to locate in Michigan last July.

Mascoma chose Michigan because of its vast, sustainable forests and other non-food agricultural materials, as well as the research expertise available at Michigan Tech and Michigan State.

For more information on Michigan Tech’s Wood to Wheels research and collaborative biofuels initiatives with Michigan State and Mascoma, see:

Michigan Technological University is a leading public research university, conducting research, developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, forestry and environmental sciences, computing, technology, business and economics, natural and physical sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Michigan Tech Research Institute Scientists Honored

Robert Shuchman, co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) in Ann Arbor, and co-authors won the Chandler-Misener Award at the International Association for Great Lakes Research annual research conference in Peterborough, Ontario, in May. The Chandler-Misener Award is presented annually to the author(s) of the peer-reviewed paper in the current volume of the Journal of Great Lakes Research judged to be “most notable.” Papers are evaluated on the basis of originality, contribution and presentation.

Shuchman and co-authors including Charles Hatt, a research engineer at MTRI, won the award for a paper titled “Verification and Application of a Bio-optical Algorithm for Lake Michigan Using SeaWiFS: A Seven-year Inter-annual Analysis.”

Michigan Tech Selected for Federal Demonstration Partnership to Streamline Grants Administration

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

Federal research grants are the lifeline of university research. But their lengthy, complicated application and administration requirements can drain the life out of the researchers.

Michigan Tech has been accepted as a member of a select group of research institutions and federal agencies in Phase 5 of the Federal Demonstration Partnership. The partnership’s primary goal is to increase the time available for those performing research to perform the research and decrease the administrative burden while still maintaining effective stewardship of federal funds.

“What this means for Michigan Tech is that we can help streamline the process of managing federal research grants,” said Anita Quinn, director of research and sponsored programs.

For Quinn, who says she has spent her entire career at Michigan Tech trying to streamline grants administration processes, this is an important step. “We actually can have an impact and help make changes and improvements in the way the federal government operates with recipients of federal funds,” she said.

The Federal Demonstration Partnership began in 1986 as an experiment between five federal agencies and the Florida State University System. In 1988 it expanded to a national project.

Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 implemented a number of improvements, including streamlining the terms and conditions for research grants, increasing budget flexibility, providing for pre-award costs and electronic research administration, simplifying cost sharing and sub-awards, and increasing participation of minority-serving and emerging research institutions.

Phase 5, which will start this fall and continue through 2014, focuses on two themes:

  • maximize the time available for principal investigators and scientific staff to focus on research while reducing any unnecessary administrative burden
  • increase the efficiency of administrative and compliance practices while reducing inefficient or redundant agency and institutional procedures and practices

“We want researchers doing science, not administration,” the FDP Strategic Planning Committee noted in its strategic plan for Phase 5.

Michigan Tech will appoint administrative, faculty and technical representatives to work with the partnership, whose members include nine federal agencies and more than 100 research institutions across the country.

Michigan Tech Honors Two with 2008 Research Award

This year, two faculty members will receive Michigan Tech Research Award.

Ravindra Pandey, professor and chair of the physics department, was selected for his long and exemplary track record of high-impact research in the theory of materials.

Mathematical Sciences Professor Shuanglin Zhang was chosen for his groundbreaking work in statistical genetics, which has been instrumental in raising the profile of his department nationally and boosting it into the top 100 in the US in terms of research funding.

“I’d like to congratulate both Ravi and Shuanglin,” said Vice President for Research David Reed. “It’s really remarkable to present two Research Awards in a single year, and in this case, it’s fully justified.”

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Special Fees and Use Charges

The Use Charge Group has worked to improve the Special Fees and Use Charge information available on the web. The Use Charge Group is comprised of individuals representing the College of Engineering, General Accounting, Research Accounting and Research & Sponsored Programs. The revised web site includes highlights of the use charge policy and procedures as well as Frequently Asked Questions. Also new is a simplified rate calculation form which will calculate a use rate based on the revenue, expenses, year end balance and utilization provided by the department.

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