I am an engineering masters by coursework student. For my final project I have implemented something I have since found is a current topic of research for another university (their project aim aligns with mine exactly). They have partnered with a company specifically as it seems to be a something that the industry is particularly interested in. Furthermore, it looks like the company in question is part funding the PHD involved. (i.e. there is a commercial concern at some level)
At heart, my project is the definiton of a conceptual backbone, a collection of ideas put forward in a way I am yet to encounter. Work—perhaps above my level of knowledge at this stage—would be required to optimize it, but I have implemented a working example of it. My goal would be involvement with the university research (co-authorship?) and/or involvement with the company itself (work + potential income). Of course this depends on if my project is actually worthwhile and aligns with their approach; there is only one way to find out…
So, without advice I’d simply contact both the head of the company involved and the research head at the university. My question pertains to the fact that I don’t know what I don’t know about this situation.
- How can I both protect and further the interests of all parties?
- Is there anything I should be aware of regarding intellectual property? According to my university, we own the IP for our projects.
Other details: My project was 1 year long and I am just a masters (it is the equivalent of 2 standard courses in terms of grades). The deadline to apply for the PHD program at the (foreign) university is over (2 months past), and regardless I am not interested in doing a PHD. I am more interested in getting involved in the industry.
Additionally, I gave a formal progress report of my project to my supervisor and examiner yesterday and there was immediate discussion about submitting it to an upcoming robotics conference (I would work with someone to make sure it has the required academic rigor). If it were successful, would conference proceedings impact the situation in any way?