White Paper Submission

 

Companies that intend to become tenants of the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University are required to present their proposals for collaboration with the University to a committee of faculty called the Technology Review and Advisory Committee (TRAC). 

The purpose of this document is to create procedures for the review and ongoing evaluation of collaborative initiatives. By establishing an ongoing review process, we hope to create a beneficial working relationship between FAU and Research Park tenants, which will add value for all parties.

 

Proposed White Paper Format

Each company requesting space in the Research Park shall submit a white paper drafted by the company in cooperation with a representative of the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority (FARDA) and at least one member of TRAC. The document shall contain no confidential information, and shall incorporate the following five sections.

 

1. Introduction
This section shall be a paragraph that highlights the company, its industry, its proposed move in date, and the areas within FAU that will have shared interests.

 

2. Company Background
This shall be a more detailed look at the company’s origins, growth history, current size and products/services. It shall include plans for future growth with a timeline. Also covered in this section should be size (number of employees and, if appropriate, sales), target markets, local competitors and organization structure. If the company is a branch or affiliate, information on the parent shall be provided. This section shall be no more than 2 pages and the company can attach printed publicity, newspaper articles, web page links, annual reports, or other supplemental materials if desired.

 

3. Proposed Collaborative Efforts
In this section of the white paper, the company shall spell out as clearly as possible its proposed collaborative activities. The text shall describe the work, the numbers and types of FAU stakeholders that will be involved, the key FAU contacts, and the deliverables. For example:

  • “XYZ Company will conduct research into semiconductor properties in collaboration with Professor Jones in the department of Computer Engineering leading to publication in scholarly journals.”
  • “ABC Company will create at least 3 internships that will be offered to FAU marketing students. The students will design and create an internet-based advertising campaign to be deployed the following year.”
  • “123 Company will provide teaching samples from its microbiology research to the Department of Biology for use in the classroom. Students will also be able to use 123’s electron microscopes in thesis and dissertation research for scheduled periods of 2 hours per day after 5pm.”

It is important to associate times with the activities so that they can be evaluated. Language such as “in the first year” or “by December 2012” is appropriate.Companies are encouraged to identify multiple activities involving both faculty and students in multiple disciplines.

 

4. Potential Conflicts and Concerns
This section shall identify any member of the FAU research community that might have a conflict of interest with the proposed activity. The nature of the conflict must be identified. If possible, statements of support from these stakeholders should be included here.

 

5. Review and Oversight
The document shall conclude with a paragraph stating who at FAU is the primary liaison with the company in the collaborative process.

 

Sequence of Activities
The chairman of TRAC will be informed by FARDA and/or the leasing broker of the general nature of the subject company’s activities and timelines involved.  The chair will send an announcement to the FAU community requesting a response from potential collaborators. The TRAC chair and FARDA may also work to identify interested parties. After an appropriate response period (normally one week), the FARDA’s representative will schedule meetings between company representatives and potential collaborators. Each meeting should conclude with a statement of proposed collaboration, identifying who will participate, expected outcomes and a timeline; or a statement that there is no identified opportunity.
FARDA, working together with the company, will draft a white paper in the format identified above.

Once it is complete, the TRAC chair will distribute it to all committee members. At this point, a review and comment period begins. The white paper will be discussed at the first regularly scheduled meeting after the white paper distribution.  Committee members will submit their votes for or against the proposed tenant at the conclusion of the presentation of the proposals by the company, and any subsequent discussion.

 

Review and Follow Up
The white paper for each company identifies a review committee. That committee shall include representatives of FAU, and FARDA. The committee shall meet every 6 months to evaluate the company’s efforts to collaborate with FAU and prepare a report for the TRAC committee. An important part of this review should include efforts by the company and the University to seek additional collaborative efforts. The review committee will also ensure that goals are in place for the subsequent period, and/or develop such goals. If the company has met or exceeded its collaborative goals for the period, no action is necessary. If the company has failed to meet its goals, the TRAC chair will notify the company and FARDA that the company is out of compliance and request a plan for improvement. If a company fails to meet its goals for two successive years without appropriate justification, it will be designated an unacceptable tenant and will be so reported to the Vice President for Research at FAU.

Committee members who leave the company, the TRAC committee, the University, or the collaborative areas shall be replaced by their successors as appropriate, and an amendment to the white paper will identify the replacements.

 

Tenant Evaluation
It is important to remember that Research Park tenants represent a variety of sizes, industries and developmental stages. Expectations for collaborative activities should be a function of company size and maturity. TRAC should evaluate each tenant based on its relative contributions as a function of size. Diversity should also be an important consideration.

For additional information or questions, please contact Andrew Duffell, President & CEO of Research Park at Florida Atlantic University at (561) 416-6092, or Som Bhattacharya, Ph.D., Chairman of TRAC, at (561) 297-0362.

 

TRAC Members