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For Faculty

If you are a WVU faculty member, there are a number of resources to help you commercialize and advance your product or idea.

If you have not yet completed an invention disclosure form, please connect with the Office of Technology Transfer to disclose your intellectual property. If you have completed the disclosure process, check out these additional programs that provide access to resources and training opportunities related to commercialization:

- National Science Foundation I-Corps Program: NSF I-Corps Regional Courses are for university-based STEM researchers and early-stage startup founders who are interested in exploring the market potential of their work and learning entrepreneurial skills.

- SBIR/STTR Grant Funding: SBIR/STTR programs support scientific excellence and technological innovation with the goals of meeting federal research and development needs, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons, and increasing private-sector commercialization of federally funded innovations.

- The XLerator Network: XLerator Network provides access to resources and mentorships for startup companies and innovators in the life science and biomedical fields.

Faculty Startup Quick Guide: For faculty members starting or operating their own business, here are a few things to consider:

What resources are available for graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who want to explore creating a start-up?

WVU has tremendous support for entrepreneurial employees, which are all part of the Mountaineer Innovation Ecosystem. This ecosystem includes programing, resource support, 1:1 coaching, connection to state resources, access to makers labs and prototyping facilities, and much more.

To get connected with these resources or for general questions and support around university Start-ups, please contact the Office of Student and Faculty Innovation. The Office of Student and Faculty Innovation is designed to guide university employees, graduate students and postdocs through the process and steps associated with forming and participating in university Start-ups. In addition this office provides informational resources and education around SBIR/STTR grants, connection to state ecosystem resources, access to the Regional and National Science Foundation I-Corps program, and connections to mentors and business advisors.

Can I use my WVU lab space or other University resources (email, phone, office, etc.) to advance my Faculty-Associated Start-Up?

Generally speaking, no. You can only use University resources for private usage or private business usage a de minimis amount. However, if you wish to use your lab space or other University resources to advance your Faculty-Associated Start-Up, you must first seek approval from your Dean and put a facility use agreement in place with a reimbursement plan. Please contact the Office of Student and Faculty Innovation for assistance with the process of a facility use agreement. Documentation of any agreements will be required by the COI Office during initial and ongoing review.

Can I hire students, postdocs, or other University employees that I supervise to work for my Faculty-Associated Start-Up?

There is tremendous value for graduate students and postdocs engaging with outside companies to enable potential career paths and gain practical experience. WVU does, however, want to ensure that no student, postdoc, or subordinate employee ever be in a position where they feel coerced, pressured or intimidated into working with or for a company. This can occur in instances where a direct supervisor has interest or ownership in a company.

In cases where a supervisor is interested in recruiting a subordinate to work in or with a company, which the supervisor has an interest in, the matter should be discussed with the Conflicts of Interest Office. In these cases, a questionnaire related to the activities and impact on the subordinate will be completed for consideration by the University. Both parties must agree to the expectations of the University and company such that a student's advancement towards graduation is not impacted and an employee's role with the University is not un-justly compromised. Should an advisee or employee of the faculty member feel that these guidelines are or were breached, they are to seek immediate guidance from their department chair or the COI Office.

What University policies should I be aware of in exploring start-up opportunities?

The two most important rules are: BOG Rule 1.4 – Ethics, Conflict of Interest, and Outside Consulting Arrangements and BOG Rule 1.5 – Rule for Intellectual Property Rule for Patent, Copyright and Trademark Rights . BOG Rule 1.4 governs conflicts of interest and external activities for all faculty and staff. BOG Rule 1.5 governs intellectual property ownership and rewards.

Still have questions? See our full list of FAQs.

Faculty Start-up Timeline and Checklist:

If you are a faculty member or WVU employee with your own startup company and are planning to apply for funding, please see the following recommended timeline and checklist for due dates and required submission documents.


(12 weeks prior to grant submission) Connect with the Office of Student and Faculty Innovation for information on SBIR/STTR grants and to review policies and procedures for submitting SBIR/STTR grants as a WVU employee

(10 weeks prior to grant submission) Complete Faculty Spinoff Grant Submission Intake Form

(10 weeks prior to grant submission) Contact your department chair or Dean to ensure allowance of desired activities regarding the SBIR/STTR grant submission

(8 weeks prior to grant submission) Contact COI office to review COI policy and create COI plan

(8 weeks prior to grant submission) Contact the Office of Technology Transfer to discuss licensing agreements or other options required for grant submission

(4 weeks prior to grant submission) Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) to facilitate any subaward contracts or other necessary agreements

(2 week prior to grant submission) Submit full copy of grant to OSP. Ensure all matters on Faculty Spinoff Grant Submission Checklist have been completed:


__ Completed Intake Form from the Office of Student and Faculty Innovation

__ Disclosed all required interests in the company in WVU+kc

__ Completed Conflict of Interest review

__ Conflict of Interest management plan is completed and in place

__ Outside Consulting Form approved by Department Chair or Dean

__ Agreements with the Office of Technology Transfer are completed

__ WVU subaward has been finalized with the Office of Sponsored Programs

__ Copy of full grant proposal has been sent to the Office of Sponsored Programs

Faculty-Associated Start-Up Do's and Dont's

Although not an exhaustive list, please keep in mind the following do's and don'ts for faculty-associated start-ups:

DON'T negotiate with the University on behalf of your faculty-associated start-up or negotiate with your faculty-associated start-up on behalf of the University.

DO research and explore resources and educational programming the University offers when you are investigating the idea of a faculty-associated start-up.

DON'T use University resources such as equipment, email, or computers for company purposes unless explicitly provided for under an agreement with the University.

DO separate and clearly distinguish on-going University research from work being conducted at your faculty-associated start-up.

DON'T involve your faculty-associated start-up personnel in WVU research without a sponsored research or collaboration agreement between WVU and your faculty-associated start-up that clearly outlines each party's roles and responsibilities.

DO limit consulting activities for your faculty-associated start-up to the stipulations agreed upon in your Outside Consulting Arrangement Approval Form and COI plan.

DON'T involve current students in your faculty-associated start-up activities unless done so through the appropriate mechanisms. If a student asks to take a leave of absence to participate in the company, the student should be referred to the COI Office or relevant Dean who will review the request and offer independent advice.

DO take vacation time if your consulting activity will take place during the normal University working hours and you are a leave eligible employee. If you are not leave eligible, do limit your consulting time to on average, eight (8) hours per week.

DON'T involve junior faculty, graduate students, or postdocs in the supervision of your faculty-associated start-up activities unless done so through the appropriate mechanisms. Even if you do not have a supervisory role, avoid situations in which junior faculty might feel expected to be involved in your faculty-associated start-up.

DO make a plan to move out of an active chief executive position within your faculty-associated start-up once those responsibilities exceed hours allowed by University policies

DON'T use University facilities for your faculty-associated start-up purposes unless explicitly described under a lease, facilities use, or other such agreement.

DO take an entrepreneurial sabbatical if serving long term in a management capacity or exceeding agreed upon consultancy hours.

DON'T undertake human subjects research at the University as PI/protocol director while also holding ownership in a related company or business concern. Similarly, don't supervise faculty who are PI/protocol directors for human subjects research related to your faculty-associated start-up.

DO work with Office of Technology Transfer to discuss the possibility of licensing pertinent technology to your faculty-associated start-up.

DON'T appear in advertising or publicly endorse their private company in conjunction with their University position.