CNMAT Affiliates Frequently Asked Questions

How do you spend our affiliate contribution?

Primarily to pay graduate students and researchers and a little on specialized equipment and software to support them. It is not used to pay "overhead", i.e. staff salaries, utilities, etc.

Why do you have a $5000 minimum?

We greatly appreciate hardware and software donations, but have learnt from experience and talking to other institutions that these donations are often wasted unless cash is available to integrate new tools into our environment and put researchers to work with them.

What kind of equipment should I consider donating or loaning?

We are developing a list of needs under four catagories: research, music production, teaching and general infrastructure.

How do I license technology from CNMAT?

UC Berkeley's Office of Technology Licensing is very experienced at developing successful technology transfers for a wide range of technologies and industries. We declare our inventions and technologies to them and they handle the marketing and licensing. We can also develop a plan with them in the case of technology you would like CNMAT to develop for future licensing.

How can we collaborate with CNMAT without our competitors learning of our plans?

CNMAT principals have many years experience of successful technology transfers and development in industry and academia. Here are some of the principles that guide our relationship to industry which is adpated to each individual case:

  • We minimize use of non-disclosure agreements and more importantly working with proprietary information. There is a basic conflict between the requirement to share our research work with our peers (furthering the interests of the people of the State of California) and trade secrecy commonly used in industry. We are able to resolve these conflicts if the secrecy is time limited, e.g. to use alpha versions of products before they are announced. We can put proprietary hardware and software in a physically secured environment and usually limit access to principals.
  • Our academic mission requires us to publish results of our research. We delay publication when necessary to accommodate constraints associated with patent applications.
  • We exercise extreme discretion with respect to potentially competitive affiliates. On occasion we have encouraged affiliates to talk to each other about mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Affiliates sometimes express concern that a particular company may dominate and "lock up" our research. This doesn't happen because good research goes beyond the particular needs of one company. The problems we work on encompass the needs of users and whole industries.