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Membership Process

UIDP is an association of leading research universities with strong, forward-looking industry engagement programs; large companies possessing (or striving to have) significant university relationships spanning workforce development, research, and commercialization arenas; and other research performers, such as independent research organizations.

Membership with UIDP is by invitation. The association maintains a standing Membership Committee that reviews queries from interested parties and, working with UIDP staff, determines whether an invitation is warranted.

UIDP sees value in remaining a selective, intimate organization to enable productive meetings and collegial relationships among its member representatives. It strives to balance these distinguishing features of membership with the expectation that its members will include leading research-intensive universities from throughout the world and innovation companies seeking to maximize their academic engagement programs. For select and limited purposes, non-members can participate in UIDP activities and gain access to many of the organization’s learnings upon request.

Although service providers are not eligible for UIDP membership, those that wish to establish a close relationship with UIDP may inquire about becoming a Community Partner by contacting us.

The Membership Committee reviews inquiries from interested universities, industries, and other research performers, using the UIDP Membership Guiding Principles and Membership Indicators. The Membership Guiding Principles specify the primary purpose of the UIDP and the corresponding characteristics of its member institutions.

In assessing potential new members, the Membership Committee uses both quantitative and qualitative criteria as outlined below.

UIDP Membership Guiding Principles

  1. The primary purpose of UIDP is to provide a unique forum where academic and industry representatives with relevant interests and job responsibilities gather to discuss strategies for advancing collaborations between the sectors.
  2. UIDP Member Representatives are willing to participate, share and address their issues in support of the UIDP mission–to advance collaboration between the two sectors at large.
  3. UIDP universities possess robust research enterprises and the necessary breadth of experiences to be intellectual contributors to the partnership.
  4. UIDP companies have experience working with universities or a committed strategy for developing university collaborations.
  5. Most interested parties (companies, national labs, other research organizations, and universities) possess unique experiences along the entire UIDP Partnership Continuum and the ability to contribute to the UIDP discussions.
  6. Companies that are strictly university vendors or service providers (law firms, professional service firms) are ineligible for general membership but can pursue participation through our Community Partners program.

UIDP Membership Indicators

To assess potential new members, the UIDP board has adopted the following set of membership indicators that are distinct for each sector.

University. These indicators consider an organization’s quality in research and the reputation of an institution’s current research enterprise including corporate engagement, contracting and technology transfer programs.

Industry. Interested companies are assessed based on public information including quantitative and qualitative measures.

University Indicators

  • Competitively funded research support: The Membership Committee uses public data gleaned from the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s R&D Expenditure Ranking of Academic institutions to evaluate universities located in the U.S. and equivalent Research Expenditure data for academic institutions located outside the US. To receive membership consideration, an institution’s R&D expenditure profile should rank among the top 100 universities (or an equivalent funding level for schools located outside of the US).
  • Industry funding: The total amount of research dollars received from industry.
  • Large-scale academic-corporate research centers: Research consortia demonstrating the ability to lead large scale and well-funded partnerships, preferably engaging with current UIDP members.
  • Doctoral Granting Institutions: Research capabilities and assets available for developing high-level partnerships with industry.
  • Reputation: To assess the organization’s collaborative conduct and reliability, the membership committee may query current UIDP member representatives about their experiences working with the interested organization.

Industry Indicators

  • Overall R&D funding levels: The Membership Committee will review (using publicly available data) a company’s overall commitment to R&D as demonstrated by its level of funding.
  • Commitment: For companies with limited, prior experiences, a stated commitment to enhancing their academic engagement programs must be provided.

General Indicators

  • Advance current member interests. The most significant and overarching principle is whether an interested party’s admission to UIDP will contribute to our overall mission of advancing collaboration between the sectors.
  • University: Industry ratio. UIDP accomplishes its mission by maintaining a small size and a healthy ratio of industry to university members. The current membership size and U:I ratio are critical factors when evaluating membership requests from interested organizations. Applications for membership can be limited based upon the current membership ratio. While there is no fixed cap on the number of members, the UIDP strives to maintain a size that allows for inter-personal highly engaged interactions among its member representatives.

Organizations interested in pursuing membership may contact UIDP at

Updated April 2019