Congratulations on taking this exciting step! UConn fully supports faculty members and students who want to commercialize technology and start companies. While it is not easy to be successful in these endeavors, UConn provides resources that can help. For example, we evaluate all faculty invention disclosures and invest in patents, research the market opportunity, seek to identify business partners and investors, among many other things. Click here for more details.
If you want to start a company, you will most likely need to obtain approvals for certain activities. Here are the key issues and approvals (not all of which apply in every case):
Licensing UConn Technology. Many start-up companies will seek to license intellectual property controlled by the University that was invented in a faculty member’s lab. Ideally, each start-up company will have a CEO, business advisor, or lawyer who can negotiate this license on behalf of the company. Your company will generally work with one of our Licensing Directors to negotiate this license.
Consulting. If you will be working on your company, either as a paid consultant or an unpaid advisor, you must seek prior approval. You will be asked to describe the work and the time commitment. Click here for more information.
Owning Equity. Faculty members and graduate students are allowed to own equity in start-up companies. Ownership should be disclosed when seeking consulting approval and when filing any financial conflict of interest documents. Financial conflict of interest policies can be found here.
Hiring Students. If you intend to hire UConn graduate students to work at the company, you will need to get approval from your department chair and enter into a written agreement with the student setting forth the role, hours, salary and any other key terms. International students on a visa must consult with the International Students Office, and may not be able to work at the company. The relevant UConn policy can be found here.
Use of UConn Facilities and Research. If your company wishes to use UConn facilities or conduct research in your UConn lab, you need to put in place a written agreement with UConn that covers costs and other conditions. A faculty member may not use UConn facilities to benefit the company without such an agreement. Contact Elly Kohl for more information on the use of facilities by your company.
Renting Incubator Space. Some faculty members may wish to rent lab space from the Technology Incubation Program (TIP). Companies apply to become TIP companies as part of a competitive process. Click here for more information.
State Ethics Laws. All faculty and staff are subject to the Connecticut state ethics laws. These laws are intended to prevent a state employee from using her or his position for personal gain. Refer to the UConn Guide to the State Code of Ethics summary of these rules.
This note summarizes our key policies and requirements. We have prepared a useful guideline document for Faculty, Staff and Students who are affiliated with a Company, click here.
We recommend that you schedule a time with a representative of the Technology Commercialization group to discuss your particular situation. Andrew Zehner (firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 860-486-1339) in the Office of the Vice President for Research is available to discuss any of these issues or approvals.