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For Industry

The goals of CEI are to:

  • Strengthen relationships between Cal Poly and industry, and build new relationships where opportunities exist for collaboration
  • Enhance the competitiveness of companies working with Cal Poly by applying university expertise to the development of commercially viable research, products, and technology
  • Create opportunities for industry to take advantage of the deep reservoir of technical expertise in the Cal Poly faculty
  • Provide enhanced access for business to faculty researchers, laboratories, facilities, and students
  • Create opportunities for entrepreneurs to start companies and established businesses to grow by engaging with the university
  • Enable Cal Poly students, faculty, and spouses to find well-paying, interesting job opportunities in clean industries in San Luis Obispo County

Cal Poly welcomes the opportunity to join with private companies in partnerships that are mutually beneficial. In particular, we seek relationships that will enable our students and faculty to work on projects of interest to industry and encourage an exchange of knowledge and expertise between academia and private enterprise. Cal Poly maintains a list of faculty interests and focus areas which can be used to identify a faculty member for a specific project idea. Additional searching can be performed on our Digital Commons platform which is a repository of both faculty and student research on campus.

A number of options are available to private companies interested in establishing such partnerships. These range from simple "in-class" projects to more complex, long term arrangements.

CEI is tasked with negotiating agreements to perform research, training or public service with for-profit and industry sponsors. These agreements range in form from multi-year, master services agreements to individual research or consulting projects with companies large and small. Our goal is to be involved in the process from the inception of the idea, scope development, and budget to ensure a streamlined contracting process. Please contact our office to learn more about engaging with Cal Poly. 

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.

$2,300,000+  The total amount of ISSP funding students have received since 2011.  Individual projects can receive between $5,000 and $10,000 in funding.

1500+  The total estimated number of students who have participated in an ISSP.  ISSP's often result in job offers at project conclusion, with industry contacts using the process as a long job interview.

If you have a project in mind or are interested in this type of sponsorship agreement, please contact and we’ll connect you with the appropriate department.

Project Initiation Form

A typical ISSP engagement is outlined below:

Item Description
Timing Depending on department, projects may begin in fall or winter quarters. Therefore it is encouraged that sponsor connect with CEI / academic advisor in August or November
Sponsor Working with an academic advisor the sponsor will propose a project, or series of projects to assess appropriate academic fit and ISSP mechanism
Student Teams The academic advisor will present sponsor projects and will form student teams of 3-5 along with a faculty advisor.
Contracting CEI, working with academic advisor and sponsor will finalize project scope and funding to support the ISSP project. A template contract will be executed and invoice submitted to sponsor.
Sponsor Sponsor will identify and assign a technical mentor to meet with the teams throughout the project term.
Student Teams Based on the sponsor’s criteria the students will embark on the main components of the ISSP project such as: problem definition, benchmark studies, concept generation and feasibility studies, design analysis / trade-off studies, and prototype fabrication and testing, when applicable.
Funding Sponsor support for ISSP projects range from $5-10K based on complexity and scope.

Fee-for-Service (FFS)

The fee-for-srevice is a mechanism to facilitate contractual relationships in which standardized services (testing, analysis, etc.) are provided to multiple sponsors ("clients"). These fee-for-service arrangements allow approved services to be provided and billed to clients in a simplified and efficient manner. Below is a list of the active fee-for-services; please contact for more information. See Fee for Service Terms and Conditions.

CubeSat Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the CubeSat Lab is a multidisciplinary, independent research lab offering services such as TestPOD procurement and refurbishment, vibration testing and reports, and FCC licensing. Please contact for more information.

Environmental Analysis Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the Environmental Analysis Lab (EAL) provides services such as the chemical analysis of water, wastewater, hydroponic liquid, fuels, sludge, and soil, field sampling services, and consulting services. Please contact for more information.

Mechanical Engineering Rapid Prototyping Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the Rapid Prototyping Lab provides 3-D printed rapid prototyping services of parts up to 10"x10"x12" produced using ABS. Please contact for more information.

Biomedical Engineering (BMED) Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the BMED Lab provides various testing and analysis services. This includes the training of users, equipment calibration, set-up, analysis, report summary, and consultant services. Please contact for more information.

Geotechnical/Geoenvironments (GEO-E) Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the GEO-E Lab provides various testing and analysis services including classification and index, compaction and density, hydraulic conductivity, strength, and consulting. Please contact for more information.

Mustang 60 Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the Mustang 60 Lab is a primarily student run machine shop. The lab provides welding and consulation services as well as general shop use. Please contact for more information.

Materials Engineering Instruments and Facilities Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the MATE Instruments and Facilities Lab provides services related to the characterization and testing of materials. Please contact for more information.

Cal Poly Antenna Anechoic Chamber and Electormagnetic Compatability Chamber Lab

Located in the College of Engineering, the Anechoic and Electormagnetic Compatability Chamber Lab operates a microwave-band antenna anechoic chamber and a UHF band electormagnetic compatability chamber to complement coursework and projects in the antenna and RF area. The lab provides antenna radiation pattern, RF absorber, and S-parameter testing as well as pre-qualification EMC characterization including radiated and conducted emissions, and radiated susceptibility and immunity testing. Please contact for more information.

Polymers and Coatings Lab

Located in the College of Science and Math, the Polymers and Coatings Lab provides various testing services including VOC analysis, Amyl acid phosphate, and consulting. Please contact for more information.

Marine Sciences Lab

Located in the College of Science and Math, the Marine Sciences Lab is part of the larger Center for Coastal Marine Sciences which comprises research labs, office space, and wet lab at the end of the Cal Poly pier in Avila Beach. The lab currently provides contracted diving and line truck services as well as use of the Cal Poly pier. Please contact for more information.

Center for Applications in Biotechnology (CAB) Lab

Located in the College of Science and Math, the CAB develops and applies biological tools to address environmental concerns and discover new resources through collaborative interdisciplinary research and education. The lab provides services in the following areas: bioremediation, fucntional genomics, ancient microbiology, microbial diversity, and pyroprinting. Please contact for more information.

Sensory Lab

Located in the College of Agrigculture, Food, & Environmental Sciences, the Sensory Lab provides CLT and IHUT services to perform objective and subjective tests to evaluate flavor, texture, and appearance of various food. Statistical analysis of how various attributes are reported by the consumer. Please contact for more information.

Nutrition and Health Assessment Lab

Located in the College of Agrigculture, Food, & Environmental Sciences, the Nutrition and Health Assessment Lab provides analysis of body composition with the use of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Also included in this facility are a tissue culture lab, as well as infrastructures for anthropometric measurements and indirect calorimetry. Please contact for more information.

Food Science & Nutrition (FSN) Lab and Pilot Plant

Located in the College of Agrigculture, Food, & Environmental Sciences, the FSN Lab and Pilot Plant is certified by the CA Dept. of Public Health and Food and Drug Branch for processed foods as well as being a registered FDA food facility. The facility provides pilot-scale test production of a wide variety of products, product formulation/process development, quality control/products evaluation, and food safety research and education. Please contact for more information.

Irrigation Training & Research Center (ITRC)

Located in the College of Agrigculture, Food, & Environmental Sciences, ITRC provides a strong irrigation teaching program through outside activities in training, research, and technical support. Please contact for more information.

California Center for Construction Education

Located in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, the California Center for Construction Education is an educational outreach unit designed to provide practitioner education, applied research services, and consultation to the design and construction industry in the state of California and to serve the community at large as a national clearinghouse for industry leadership, knowledge, technology, and innovation. Please contact for more information.

Central Coast Lean

Located in the Orfalea College of Business, Central Coast Lean seeks to build knowledge and understanding around building a local community of lean practice across business, education, nonprofit organizations and government. The center provides these clients training, workshops, and tours. Please contact for more information.

Cal Pack Lab

Located in the Orfalea College of Business, the Cal Pack Lab provides research, testing and consulting services to the packaging and plastics industry. This lab provides the evaluation, improvement and development of packaging materials, packages and package systems. Please contact for more information.


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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