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Industry Engagement

Collaborating with industry, utilities, and other organizations is critical to the vision of the Bits & Watts Initiative. We have created a flexible industry engagement model that allows companies to participate in a number of ways that can be customized to best align with each organization’s goals. Companies may choose to engage with the Initiative via one or more of these paths at a given point in time:

  • The Bits & Watts Affiliate Program allows a broad engagement with the initiative as a whole via an industry consortium model, in which companies gain facilitated access to Stanford faculty and students and connect with other interested companies in shared research-related programming such as annual symposia and focused workshops. Companies join by paying an annual affiliate membership fee. Affiliate-funded research is open to all members of the program and does not include IP terms.  
  • Sponsored Research Collaboration: A focused collaborative research project working with one or more faculty investigators. Companies might choose this path if they have very focused goals (e.g., a technical challenge specific to their company) and/or particular concerns about confidentiality, IP or proprietary data. Each sponsored research project has its own budget (including full indirect costs) and terms and conditions. Cash payments are made in accordance with the project timeline and budget.  
  • Gifts: A company interested in broader support for the initiative, a particular lab, or research project might choose to support that engagement via gift funding. Gift support for graduate fellowships is an ideal way for companies to connect with students. Gifts to support programs or research must be “no strings attached.” Gifts are subject to a modest infrastructure charge. Cash gifts are typically made on an annual basis to allow for timely academic planning for the use of those gifts.
  • In-Kind Gifts: Companies may have unique equipment or data relevant to the Initiative’s research and could participate in the Initiative by contributing these as in-kind gifts. Given their unique nature, in-kind gifts are typically handled in an ad hoc manner with agreements tailored to each contribution. Acceptance and valuation of in-kind gifts is at the discretion of our faculty.  

Bits & Watts Initiative Industry Leaders Companies may elect to become Industry Leaders of the Bits & Watts Initiative:

  • Initiative Founding Members commit a minimum of $1 million annually, with Platinum level ($600,000/year) membership in the Bits & Watts Affiliate Program and $400,000+/year in sponsored research and/or gift support. Initiative Founding Members have the opportunity to join Stanford researchers on the Bits & Watts Strategic Council, which will jointly identify future scenarios, challenges, and opportunities, and work together on the strategy for the research and education agenda to address them. Initiative Founding Members also have the opportunity to join the Bits & Watts Advisory Council, which will provide feedback about real-world challenges and opportunities for future scenarios.  
  • Initiative Elite Members commit a minimum of $250,000 annually, with Gold level ($150,000+/year) membership in the Bits & Watts Affiliate Program and $100,000+/year in sponsored research and/or gift support. Initiative Elite Members will have the opportunity to join the Bits & Watts Advisory Council, which will provide feedback about real-world challenges and opportunities for future scenarios.

Industry Contact: Jim Chen, Bits & Watts Industrial Relations: jimchen@stanford.edu, (650) 723-2019