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Engaging in Research

Research relationships take many forms, from fast-track development to relationships built on long-term collaborations with multiple projects so we offer several flexible options for engaging with us.

Sponsored Research

Industrial Sponsored Research 

Industrial sponsored research is undertaken by university personnel and students to address a problem, issue or need that has been identified by the sponsor.  Projects may involve basic or applied research and are aimed at discovery and interpretation of facts, development of new analytical and experimental protocols or practical application of new theories, analysis, data gathering and experiments. 

A sponsor is entitled to utilize the results and any technology that is developed during the research project for their internal purposes.  In the event a patentable technology (invention) is developed in the course of the research project, ownership of that invention would be determined by inventorship, in accordance with US Patent Law.

A sponsor is always provided with prompt notice of any invention and receives the first option to license such invention for its own commercial purposes.  NDSU would retain its right to publish the results of the research project and would maintain its right to utilize the invention for teaching and research purposes.

Although an industrial sponsor desires an outcome that benefits its business, however NDSU cannot guarantee a specific outcome or results of any research project.

A comparison of NDSU's sponsored research agreements and sample agreements are available on the Industrial Agreements webpage.

Research ND

Research ND is an economic development tool under the North Dakota Department of Commerce that helps companies connect to the creative talents, research and technical expertise located within North Dakota’s research universities. 

The overall goal of Research ND, Research ND BIO, FAST Track and the Venture Grant programs is to have a long term positive economic impact on the State and private sector through various means including, but not limited to; economic diversification, improved production factors, and the development of new markets.

Research ND provides $1 of state funding for every $1 invested by a private sector partner on projects intended to help commercialize new technology, develop new products, or improve existing products through partnership with North Dakota State University or the University of North Dakota.  By statute, Research ND funds are "provided to a research university for research, development, and commercialization activities related to a private sector partner". 

Additional information on the Research ND and related programs can be found through the ND Department of Commerce.  All submissions to the program are coordinated through NDSU's Sponsored Program Administration. The remaining submission deadlines for this biennium are:

  • February 16, 2018
  • May 18, 2018

If you would like more information about the Research ND program or assistance in identifying faculty members with the necessary research and/or technical expertise for a project, contact NDSU Business Development.

Centers of Excellence

The Centers of Excellence and Centers of Research are legacy programs of the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The intent of the programs was to develop hubs of research and development at North Dakota universities in areas of traditional research strengths with relevance to industry. Over the last 10+ years, 25 Centers and 16 individual economic development projects have been approved in North Dakota. 

The program requires $2 of investment from an industry partner for every $1 of investment by the State of North Dakota.  While the state funding investment has been exhausted by many of the Centers, the core expertise of the Centers still exist within the university.

Approved Centers at NDSU with Centers of Excellence funding available include:

  • The Center for Technologically Innovative Products and Processes focuses on the product design and development, process improvements and prototype development (PI - Robert Sailer, Mechanical Engineering)
  • The Center for Bio-based Materials Science and Technology focuses on the development and pre-production manufacturing of materials—polymers and composites—using raw materials derived from renewable resources (PI - Dean Webster, Coatings and Polymeric Materials)

 Approved Centers at NDSU with expertise but no remaining state funding for match include

  • The Center for Advanced Electronics Design and Manufacturing specialized in the areas of wireless sensors, electronic systems, miniaturized electronics and prototype development.
  • The Center for Surface Protection, in collaboration with industry works to develop coatings and applications methods that would improve product durability, reduce corrosion, and increase wear resistance along with the development of new or improved products. 
  • The Center for Integrated Electronic Systems focuses on integrated electronic hardware and software systems developed for new products and improvements to existing products to increase profitability.
  • The Center for Sensors, Communications and Control specializes in the area of JAVA programming, sensor integration and systems engineering.
  • The Center of Excellence for Agbiotechnology breeds canola varieties with improved oil seed genetics and expanded range for growth in North Dakota. 

Programmatic information about the Centers of (Research) Excellence programs is available through the North Dakota Department of Commerce.  Email links have been provided above for direct inquiries about the Centers of Excellence and Centers of Research Excellence at NDSU.

Testing Services

NDSU personnel can provide certain services which

  • require use of unique or special NDSU facilities that either do not exist elsewhere or are not readily available or  
  • are performed pursuant to a sponsor developed protocol and require the use of the sponsor's proprietary materials or
  • involve established, pre-existing methods of a primarily technical nature which do not require original, creative thought

These services do not involve any expert analysis or discretionary judgement and can  be provided under NDSU's Testing Service Agreement or through a NDSU Service Center.  A project that requires the development of new methodologies, new tools, or analysis/interpretation of results would be considered a research project rather than a testing service.  More information about industrial sponsored research agreements and the Testing Services Agreement can be found on the Industrial Agreement webpage.

Industrial Consortium

University Consortia are partnerships between the university, industry, government, and/or foundations developed to address issues of mutual interest to members who generally operate within the same industry.  University research undertaken as part of consortium is designed to tackle emerging needs or common problems faced by consortium members rather than being focused on the needs of a specific member.  While intellectual property developed under an industrial consortium is normally available for all consortium members to use, how IP is handled within a given consortia is defined within the specific Consortium Agreement.

Industrial Consortiums at NDSU include:

  • NDSU Computer Science Industry/University Consortium Program 
  • North Dakota Partner in Nursing (PIN) Gerontology Consortium 
  • Center for Quality, Reliability and Maintainability Engineering




Contract Research

NDSU, as a land grant institution, has three mission: the education of students, the creation of new knowledge, and the dissemination of knowledge.  As such, NDSU does not perform Contract Research Services under the direction of its industry partners.


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Phone: 701.231.8045
Physical/delivery address:  1735 NDSU Research Park Drive/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  P.O. Box 6050—Dept. 4000/Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: RCA

Last Updated: Thursday, November 30, 2017 4:29:03 PM
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