To translate basic research into economic growth requires private investment. The cost of bringing a genetically improved plant or animal to the marketplace (whether improved by traditional or biotechnology-based means) is in the millions of dollars. At the same time, the bio-based firms that are likely to pursue the commercialization of our discoveries will benefit greatly from the creativity of public researchers as a 'virtual research and development network.'

Pursuant to the Bayh-Dole Act, NSF allows grantees to retain the principal legal rights to intellectual property developed under its grants. This policy provides incentive for development and dissemination of inventions, software, and publications that can enhance their usefulness, accessibility, and upkeep. It does not, however, reduce the responsibility of researchers and organizations to make results, data and collections available to the research community.

To balance these needs, our databases will be copyrighted. Private firms will be able to license access to the databases or physical materials (clones: see below) for a cost-recovery fee, or license rights to commercialization of specific genes or sets of genes. The database license will confer a cost advantage to those who subsequently license specific genes or sets of genes.

We will provide free access to the databases by public researchers under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) through the University of Georgia Research Foundation that is largely standardized but with the incentive that researchers will share in any royalties accruing from commercialization of discoveries that they make. Physical materials will be made available under a similar MOA, on a cost-recovery basis (see below).

The details of these arrangements, and access to MOAs, will be provided here in the near future.

Project data links: