Starting in fall 2019, all undergraduate students applying for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will be asked to sign an Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement (IPIA).
This is not a change to MIT’s Ownership of Intellectual Property Policy. Students will continue to own their intellectual property except when working on government or third-party sponsored research projects, using significant MIT funds or facilities, or in other limited circumstances (for example, a Beaver Works course).
While signing and collecting the IPIA (MIT Policies and Procedures 13.1.4) is not new, the move to incorporate the IPIA form into Atlas as part of the UROP application process is.
The benefits of this process change are threefold:
- Improved IPIA collection ensures that MIT is complying with U.S. government and sponsored research requirements when the work involves undergraduate researchers.
- The Atlas form will remove the burden of IPIA collection from faculty and staff.
- Interacting with MIT undergraduate students as they pursue research opportunities provides a touchpoint for educating them on the development and ownership of intellectual property.
Faculty are encouraged to talk with students who are interested in UROPs or completing UROPs in their research group about the importance of appropriately identifying and protecting intellectual property, while emphasizing that this new practice is not a change to our policies or to the environment for undergraduate innovation and entrepreneurship that exists on campus.