Companies, Conflict Management and Contract Research


Engaging the CRG...

There are three ways in which to access the work of the CRG.

  1. 1.Licensing the technology of interest from the University.  Negotiations for a license for our IP is done exclusively through WF Innovations and NOT the research group.

  2. 2.A consulting agreement can be arranged for aiding in the transfer of information needed in using the results of our work. Typically, such arrangements do not involve laboratory work. 

  3. 3.An SRA (sponsored research agreement) can be used to aid in the further development of the technology.

Why a CRG SRA?

CRG brings extensive experience to technology development, providing an affordable

and reliable development partner for corporate sponsors.

Percentage of our funding from Corporate Activities: ~70%

No. of companies spun out of our labs: 7

No. of non-related companies licensing our technologies: 2 

Indirect costs of working with our team: 47% of direct spend funds (roughy 1/3rd of the budget)  

Infrastructure available for our work: ~$10M

Average time for a development program: (TRL 2 to TRL6/7): 2 years

Conflict of Interest Statement...

As a natural consequence of the type of SRA work we do, there are numerous opportunities for intellectual property, product development, and corporate interest.   When working on programs supported by corporate sponsors, all potential conflicts are filed with the University Compliance Office and are strictly monitored.  We employ third party monitoring to assure any sponsor: federal, state, or corporate, that there is NO overlap in activities, unfair exchange of data, or duplication of programs.

Carroll Group Policies for Companies...

If you do work with us through an SRA, you can expect that we will act in good faith, stand behind the numbers and technologies we generate, and generally try our best to be good partners.  Our relationship with you and your company is important to us.  However, as a Not-for-Profit, academic institution, there may be some aspects of working with us of which you are unaware.

  1. 1.Wake Forest University alone determines how we can be compensated. Contracts outside the review of the University are not allowed. The documents: 1) license agreement, 2) SRA, and 3) SOW + amendments, define the boundaries of our relationship.   

  1. 2.The deliverables of our programs are outlined and described in the statement of work.  The SOW may be accompanied by a full proposal - with a more complete description of our approach, however, the SOW tells you what you are going to get for your money. There are several aspects of the SOW that require attention.

  2. a)The SOW typically affords some latitude to the researchers to allow for achieving overarching goals.  This doesnt mean we can work on anything we want - normally we will stick fairly close to the stated work.  However if it becomes clear that changes in directions are desirable to achieve stated primary goals, then those overall goals should take priority over specific intermediate steps.  We always try to be upfront and transparent when such “pivot points” occur.

  3. b)The SOW doesnt typically specify HOW we do our work. If you require specific roadmapping and engineering documentation, such as 6-sigma for example, this should be stated upfront and accounted for in the pricing of the work. Otherwise we will carry out the research using methods we deem to be most appropriate for the level of development required. Such highly labor intensive documentation and format requirements can NOT be added after work has begun.


  1. 3.If you request other services during the performance of your SOW such as: “please send me demonstrators,”  “can you design a manufacturing approach?” “will you train our employee?” or “can we change the design of the envisaged product?” then the scope of your work statement will be changed. The SOW is designed to achieve specific ends in a time frame for a given amount of money. Asking us to expend resources on other tasks necessitates changes in money, time or both. 

  1. 4.While we are usually happy to accommodate changes in the SOW - formally or informally, it is important to realize that some record of the request should be kept so that everyone “remembers” that such a request was made at the program’s review. The company should have a designated TPOC and submit changes to the SOW in writing with requisite signatures.  It is the company’s responsibility to manage internal communications regarding changes to the SOW by employees and representatives.

  1. 5.Typically, entities from outside the university are not allowed direct access to the student and trainee researchers. This includes sponsors.  They are not employees of the sponsoring entity. Dr. Carroll is the TPOC for the lab.  Students and postdocs are not allowed to respond to phone calls, messages, or emails.

  1. 6.The Nanotechnology Center at Wake is not an open facility.  Sponsors are invited in as guests at our discretion. Our guests are asked to be respectful of facility schedules.

  1. 7.Documentation of results is provided in the form of reports.  Data logs, lab notebooks, and raw data are the property of the laboratory and may not leave the facilities.  However, these data records are kept on file for review and legal purposes such as patent support, indefinitely. 

  1. 8.Transitioning from the lab to the manufacturing floor is difficult.  Our help in doing this, working with line engineers, designing processes, estimating costs, etc. are services subject to compensation.  This must be covered by a contract through the University.

  1. 9.All agreements with regards to IP is covered by your IP license and/or your SRA.  Typically, if you pay for the work, you will get access to the results exclusively. But the details are defined in these agreements and are at the discretion of the University.  The research group does not set these agreements - so dont ask us.

  1. 10. We are a Not-for-Profit.  Trying to negotiate a lower price for the work you want done, simply reduces the amount of work that will get done.  There is no “profit margin” for us to negotiate with.

A Few Fine Points...

1.  Our group has significant capabilities, but we are not a substitute for manufacturing engineers.  We can provide the critically needed pathways to prototyping of a technology moving it from a TRL of 1/2 to something close to TRL 8/9. To go beyond this, we must work with a larger engineering team. Hand-off of a technology is our goal.   

2.  We are an academic research lab, hiring and training takes time, we do not use parallel development strategies (these are expensive). This means that things usually do not progress linearly - but rather begin slowly and speed up dramatically once everyone is on board.

  1. 3. We follow Kelly’s Rules as closely as possible (and where applicable). 

Kelly Johnson’s Rules: (The CRG Version)

Rule Number 1
The CRG must be delegated practically complete control of the program in all aspects. A TPOC for the sponsor/customer will be assigned.

Rule Number 2
Project space: offices and labs, must be set aside specifically for the project. These spaces are dedicated to the purpose.

Rule No. 3
The number of people having any connection with the project must be restricted in an almost vicious manner. Use a small number of good people (10 percent to 25 percent compared to the so-called normal systems). Everything is done to enhance “team” identity and encourage synergistic work.

Rule No. 4
A very simple drawing/concept and drawing/concept release system with great flexibility for making changes must be provided.  Basic working models are understood by the entire team and overall goals are the priority.

Rule No. 5
There must be a minimum number of reports required, but important work must be recorded thoroughly.  Typically every effort will be made to reduce the amount of reporting required and written transmissions of information.  Update presentations, questions and answers pointing to essential data updates are the preferred way of transmitting new information. 

Rule No. 6
There must be a monthly cost review covering not only what has been spent and committed but also projected costs to the conclusion of the program.

Rule No. 7
The CRG must be delegated and must assume more than normal responsibility to get good vendor bids for subcontracts on the project.

Rule No. 8
The CRG is responsible for inspection of subcontracted system components.

Rule No. 9
The CRG must be delegated the authority to test the final technology under utilization conditions. The CRG can and must test it throughout all stages of development. This is done to maintain competency in the design and testing of other technologies.  All testing is under the supervision of CRG during the development program and will combine internal protocols with external third party vetting.

Rule No. 10
The specifications that apply to the hardware must be agreed to in advance of contracting. The CRG will typically require a specification section in the SOW stating clearly which important specification items will not knowingly be complied with and reasons why.

Rule No. 11
Funding a program must be timely so that the contractor doesn't have to keep running to the bank to support the development projects.

Rule No. 12
There must be absolute mutual trust between the funding organization and the CRG with very close liaison on a weekly basis. This cuts down misunderstanding and written correspondence to an absolute minimum.

Rule No. 13
Access by outsiders to the project and its personnel must be strictly controlled by appropriate security measures.

Rule No. 14
Only a few people will be used in engineering and development, oversight and reward of performance of personnel is the sole responsibility of the CRG.


the Camel City mascot - used with a number of our startups