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For Faculty Researchers

Industry Collaboration

Cal Poly's learn by doing ethos is ideally suited and translates directly into fulfilling work on industry-supported research projects. Cal Poly researchers and students benefit from this engagement, supplementing academic curriculum with real-world problem-solution sets. Companies are often in a position to award funding without the lengthy proposal evaluation processes inherent with governmental or nonprofit funding sources.  Additionally, companies are looking to fund research projects that align with current market conditions, giving the university researchers unique insights into commercial research and development related to their academic interests. The CEI office is here to help you and your students engage with industry. 

Industry Contracts and Sponsored Research Agreements

Industry sponsored engagements are managed by the CEI team to support Cal Poly researchers with for-profit companies. These engagements can include, but are not limited to, confidentiality, collaboration, research, and fee for service/use agreements/contracts. To ensure a successful engagement, we encourage Cal Poly faculty to contact the CEI team early, so we can work with you from initial technical scoping and budgeting, through contract negotiation and project launch. Points of contact for industry sponsored research engagements are divided by college and can be found in the table below.

Industry Supported Student Project (ISSP)

Industry Supported Student Projects, or ISSPs, is a streamlined contracting process designed to allow businesses or individuals the ability to sponsor a student-based project. These projects are typically completed by a team of students as part of their capstone course and usually result in a report that is presented to the sponsor. If you have a project in mind or are interested in this type of sponsorship agreement, please contact

Collaboration Agreements

Generally, faculty do not have the authority to sign these types of agreements that bind Cal Poly or its resources to specific terms. Whether you have a non-disclosure agreement, material transfer agreement, data use agreement, or some other agreement that doesn’t involve the transfer of funds, we recommend reaching out to the analyst assigned to your college in the table below for further direction. 

Limited Submissions

Limited Submissions are funding opportunities where the sponsor has placed limitations on the number of applications an eligible institution may submit. Accordingly, institutions must review applications prior to submittal to ensure compliance with sponsor requirements.

Limited Submission opportunities can be viewed by accessing our Pivot subscription search service here: PIVOT

Once there, Limited Submissions can be viewed by clicking "Advanced Search" and then checking the "Limited Submission" box in the search filters (click for larger image):

You can find a more in-depth tutorial on using the Advanced Search page here: PIVOT Advanced Search Tutorial on YouTube


Non-Profit Collaborations

In addition to for-profit sponsors, CEI also assists faculty with sponsored project proposals to non-government non-profit sponsors. These engagements can include, but are not limited to, confidentiality, collaboration, research, and fee for service/use agreements/contracts. The post-award responsibilities for sponsored research with non-profit entities lies with the Sponsored Programs Office who will also take the lead negotiating these agreements.

R-EDGE maintains a list of non-profit research funding opportunities alphabetically and by subject. Points of contact for non-profit sponsored research engagements are divided by college and can be found in the table below.

CEI Analyst Assignment by College

College Analyst
College of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Science Click for Analyst
College of Architecture and Environmental Design Click for Analyst
College of Engineering Click for Analyst
College of Liberal Arts Click for Analyst
Orfalea College of Business Click for Analyst
College of Science and Mathematics Click for Analyst

Intellectual Property & Licensing

For more information, please visit our Technology Transfer website and to disclose a new technology, click here.

Other Units within the Division of Research

Office of Student Research

The newly formed Office of Student Research aims to increase student opportunities to Learn by Doing Research. Founding director Dr. Jane Lehr will focus on increasing the transparency of access to research opportunities to ensure equity of student participation, support the professional development of both student researchers and research mentors, and increase the submission and success of proposals that include and fund our student researchers.    

Grants Development Office 

The Grants Development Office (GDO) pre-award team provides proposal preparation, review, and submission services to Cal Poly faculty and staff who are interested in obtaining extramural project funding from federal, state, local municipality, and nonprofit sources.

For assistance with pre-award processes, contact the Grants Development Office:, (805) 756-2982. 

Designated to manage and oversee externally-sponsored projects, as well as Cal Poly Centers and Institutes, the Sponsored Programs office assists faculty and staff by providing research administration services to ensure compliance and proper use of funds.

For assistance with post-award processes, contact the Sponsored Programs Office;, (805) 756-1123. 

Research Compliance 

Cal Poly’s Research Compliance program is designed to support the ethical conduct of research on campus. The office emphasizes providing learn-by-doing opportunities for students to gain expertise in ethical research practices. The office is grounded in the principles of equity, justice, respect for researchers and research participants, and transparency. A major goal of the office is to demystify compliance activities related to Human Subjects, Animal Subjects, Conflict of Interest, Export Control, Research Misconduct, Biosafety, and Environmental Health and Safety. or  




The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. 

Corporate Engagement and Innovation at Cal Poly is motivated to connect our highly talented faculty, students, and staff with our industry partners to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

  • Both the SBIR and STTR programs require that the small business is the applicant for the grant meaning they submit the proposal to the federal sponsor.
  • SBIR/STTR solicitations are done by phase, with each subsequent phase based on the results from the previous phase. Therefore, you cannot pursue a phase II solicitation unless you have successfully been awarded and completed a phase I project. 
  • A central tenant of the STTR program is a requirement that the small business partner with a non-profit research institution. As such, the small business must perform at least 40% of the R&D while the research institution must perform at least 30% of the R&D.

We encourage those seeking an SBIR/STTR program to reach out the CEI offices once a program/topic is identified as the proposal development and approval process requires significant time and resources to complete. Please email

Additional Information

For general information about the SBIR/STTR programs: Click Here

For the individual participating agency's pages: Click Here

For all current, active solicitations: Click Here

Information for Cal Poly Faculty

Since SBIR/STTR proposals must be submitted by a small business, faculty members will need to find a small business to partner with in order to pursue one of these awards. 

As part of the proposal development process, the Cal Poly portion of the work performed must be routed through various campus approvals before Cal Poly can formally submit its portion of the proposal to the small business for inclusion in the larger proposal.

In addition to the proposal, and ancillary documents such as an NDA or required intellectual property or program partnership agreement / MOU must also be routed for approval and should be between the small business and the Cal Poly Corporation, a separate non-profit from the university created to serve the interests of Cal Poly University. The CEI office will facilitate these dealing between Cal Poly and the small business 

Once an award is made by the federal agency, the contracting process can begin. Because these are federal awards to a small business, any subcontracting or payments to a university partner will require the small business to "flow down" some of the terms of the prime award. 

If funded, these projects require the small business awardee and the research institution to establish an intellectual property (IP) agreement.

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