Survey Manual

500.21 - Industrial Research Associate Program

This chapter establishes an Industrial Research Associate Program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and policy and procedures for initiating and managing program projects.


OPR - Director's Office/Technology Transfer Office

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes an Industrial Research Associate Program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and policy and procedures for initiating and managing program projects.

2. Authority. The statutory bases of the Program are:

A. 43 U.S.C. 36c, Acceptance of contributions from public and private sources (by the U.S. Geological Survey).

B. Executive Order 12591, Facilitating Access to Science and Technology, Section 3, Technology Exchange (see 15 U.S.C. 3710, Utilization of Federal technology).

3. Applicability. Research Associate Programs may only be established at Government facilities designated as Federal laboratories under 15 U.S.C. 3710.

4. Policy. USGS encourages programs which provide opportunities for joint research and collaboration with private sector sources consistent with its goal of conducting earth science in the public interest. To implement this policy, USGS may make its laboratory facilities and expertise available to persons other than USGS employees, and provide such persons professional guidance and supervision in the conduct of research of clear mutual interest and potential benefit to the industry involved, the nation's natural resources, and the public.

5. Definitions.

A. Industrial Research Associate Program - A Program established for the purpose of promoting technology transfer between the Government and the private sector consistent with the mission of the Geological Survey. The program enables the Geological Survey to accept Research Associates on a temporary basis in order to collaborate with USGS scientists on specific projects proposed by the Associate's sponsoring organization.

B. Research Associates - Scientists and/or engineers employed by, or members of a sponsoring organization, participating in the Industrial Research Associate Program. If two or more Research Associates participate concurrently on one project, one is normally designated Principal Research Associate and so identified for USGS by their Sponsor.

C. Sponsoring Organization (Sponsor) - An industrial, professional, trade or other non-Governmental organization participating in or seeking entry into the Industrial Research Associate Program through submission of a project proposal on which one or more of their scientists or engineers will collaborate with USGS scientists as a Research Associate.

6. Responsibilities.

A. The Associate Director for Operations is responsible for signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) formally accepting sponsored proposals into the Industrial Research Associate Program, subject to specified terms and conditions.

B. The Chairperson of the Business Enterprise Council(BEC) is responsible for:

(1) Publicizing, as appropriate, the Industrial Research Associate Program within the Bureau, other Government agencies, industry, and other areas of potential interest, in collaboration with the Technology Transfer Office;

(2) Promoting industrial and, as appropriate, other interests in program participation through personal contact at management and technical levels;

(3) Arranging meetings for discussions between the Bureau's professional staff and representatives of potential sponsors; and

(4) Assisting the Bureau's professional staff in development of any Industrial Research Associate Program opportunities identified by them, according to the procedures of this chapter.

C. The prospective host Division Chief(s) and their designees are responsible for:

(1) Carrying out technical discussions with representatives of prospective sponsors and their candidate Research Associates to define mutually attractive projects.

(2) Preparing the MOA for any particular Industrial Research Associate Program project, and identifying USGS activities that are complementary to that project.

(3) Managerial and administrative oversight of projects and Research Associates according to the procedures of this chapter.

D. The USGS scientific staff is encouraged to make known to potential sponsors the availability of the Industrial Research Associate Program, to inform the Chairperson, BEC, of any interests identified, and to provide the Chairperson with information that may assist in the development of program projects related to Bureau interests.

7. Project Acceptance Criteria. Project proposals must meet the following criteria to be considered for acceptance into the Program:

A. They will support scientific research, technological development, and data systems pertaining thereto.

B. They will serve the public, i.e.:

(1) Project results must offer the prospect of publishable results of interest and significance to the industrial and technical communities represented, and thus ultimately to the public;

(2) They are not detrimental to any public group; and

(3) They do not afford an unfair advantage to any private group or interest.

C. They are in compliance with laws and regulations, i.e.:

(1) They cannot be in conflict with the USGS Organic Act as amended, current USGS Appropriations Acts, Anti-Trust laws or other applicable laws and regulations;

(2) No individual member of the USGS, the Department of the Interior, other Government agencies, or Member of Congress can benefit personally from the projects;

(3) Projects are so structured that conflict-of-interest statutes and regulations will not be compromised, proprietary information can be protected to the extent permitted or required by law, and safeguards against the premature release of sensitive information are included; and

(4) They are not in violation of OMB Circular A-76 on policies for acquiring commercial or industrial products and services needed by the Government or any pertinent inter- agency agreements which the USGS has with other Government agencies.

D. They are compatible with USGS missions, i.e.:

(1) They will aid or facilitate USGS programs; and

(2) The experience and support necessary for the conduct of the project are available in the USGS.

E. They will not adversely affect the scientific integrity of the USGS; i.e., they will not compromise the objective fact-finding mission of the USGS in fact or appearance.

F. No appropriated funds will be provided to the Associate, Sponsor, or other party. Private funding, if required, will comply with the following:

(1) The proposed funding is commensurate with the scope of the project; and

(2) If necessary to the project, private funds will be available from year to year.

8. Procedures.

A. Project Formulation/Evaluation.

(1) Preliminary Discussions. Division Chiefs and their designees are authorized to hold preliminary discussions with private sources about proposed projects which meet the criteria in paragraph 7, above. These discussions must not be binding on the USGS; they should identify the nature and scope of the project, USGS facilities and services which will be required, and any other significant aspects of the project.

(2) Proposal Submission and Content. The Sponsor will prepare and submit a project proposal to the Chairperson of the Business Enterprise Council, 104 National Center, Reston, Virginia 20192. Project proposals will not receive consideration without the following information:

(a) Technical description (1-to-5 page technical description of the project; background information may be attached in appendices).

(b) Name and resume of each candidate Research Associate.

(c) List of USGS technical collaborator(s). In the case of multiple collaborators, a Principal Collaborator must be specified. Collaborators in more than one USGS Division may be listed; in such cases, the Principal Collaborator's Division becomes the host Division.

(d) USGS facilities and services required.

(3) Proposal Evaluation. The Chairperson of the BEC will forward the proposal to the BEC for evaluation. The BEC will designate evaluators in the collaborating Division(s). At least two evaluations, in the format shown in Appendix A, will be provided by the Division(s), and one of the evaluations must be done by the proposed Principal Collaborator. The Division Chief(s) will recommend acceptance or rejection of the proposal on the basis of the evaluations. The evaluations and recommendations will be given to the BEC which will make a determination to accept or reject the proposal, or return the proposal for revision. The BEC will inform the Sponsor of its determination in writing, including its willingness to reconsider a revised proposal (if applicable), and forward a copy of the determination to the host Division.

B. Project Approval. Once a proposal has been determined acceptable by the BEC, the following steps are to be completed:

(1) MOA Preparation.

(a) The host Division will prepare a MOA using the format of Appendix B, applicable provisions of Appendix C, and organizational conflict of interest clauses (see below).

(b) The host Division will consult with the Branch Chief, at the cognizant Office of Program Support Acquisition Office (Reston, Menlo, or Denver), to determine if the project might provide advance or inside information to the Sponsor relating to a procurement, involve development of systems, or otherwise relate to a procurement in which the Sponsor is a potential competitor. With the assistance of the Acquisition Office, the host Division will develop project-unique clauses that will avoid, neutralize, or mitigate potential organizational conflicts of interest. Such clauses will be prepared according to the procedures of Federal Acquisition Regulation Subpart 9.5 and inserted under Item (9) of the MOA.

(c) After obtaining the signature of the Division Chief, the MOA and project proposal will be submitted to the Chairperson, BEC

(2) Administrative and Legal Review. The Chairperson of the BEC will submit the MOA and project proposal to the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior through the Chief, Technology Transfer Office, for determination of compliance with laws and regulations, and to the Department's Ethics and Audit Officer for determination of compliance with conflict-of-interest regulations.

(3) Negotiation. The Chairperson, BEC, will conduct final negotiations with the Sponsor to obtain the signature of their authorized representative and that of the designated Research Associate(s) on the original and two letterhead copies of the MOA.

(4) Execution. The Chairperson, BEC, will complete execution of the MOA for the Bureau by submitting the same original and copies for the Associate Director for Operation's signature. After signature, the Chairperson will retain a signed copy of the MOA and return the others to the host Division.

(5) Distribution. The host Division will distribute the completely executed MOA and copies thereof in accordance with the following list:

(a) Original - retained by host Division.

(b) Signed copy - Office of Financial Management.

(c) Reproduced copies (1 each) to: the host Division Administrative Officer; the Sponsor; the Technology Transfer Office; and the Research Associate(s).

C. Project Performance.

(1) Administrative Matters. The arrival of a Research Associate at USGS is administratively similar to the arrival of a new USGS employee. However, the assignment of a Research Associate is not a personnel action. The host Division is responsible for initiating necessary action in the areas listed below.

(a) Security Clearance. If the project requires access to classified information or facilities or sensitive materials, the Division Security Officer should contact the USGS Security Officer to determine requirements and obtain any forms or clearances that apply.

(b) Conflict of Interest. The host Division should consult the Bureau Ethics Officer to determine if the Research Associate has any financial holdings or dealings that may present a personal conflict of interest.

(c) Procurement Integrity. If a need arises for purchase of goods or services in conjunction with this program, the Research Associate may make recommendations to the cognizant official within the host USGS Division. If said official agrees that goods or services are needed, he/she will handle all procurement through standard USGS procurement procedures with no involvement of the Research Associate.

(d) Facilities. The host Division will obtain any ID's, passes, keys, parking permits, etc., that the Research Associate(s) will require during his/her assignment at USGS.

(e) Financial Matters. The host Division will:

(i) Obtain the Sponsor's check for the special supplies and services fund if established under Item (8) of the MOA (See Appendix B) and transmitting this check to the Office of Financial Management; and

(ii) Establish a cost center to collect costs which are to be charged to the special supplies and services fund.

(2) Programmatic Considerations. The host Division will:

(a) Provide the Research Associate with necessary laboratory space and normally available facilities, office space, supplies, services, and routine clerical assistance;

(b) Orient the Research Associate to the USGS, the host Division, its activities, and to safety responsibilities;

(c) Issue and/or approve requisitions for special supplies and services, equipment, and material required for the project and chargeable to the special supplies and services fund with the approval of the Principal Research Associate;

(d) Schedule, with the Principal Research Associate and the Sponsor's designated representative, program reviews as specified in the MOA;

(e) Provide the Chairperson, BEC, with reasonable advance notice of such program review schedules; and

(f) Notify the Chairperson, BEC, of any significant program content change proposed as a result of such reviews.

(3) Modifications to the MOA. Administrative modifications to the MOA may be made at the discretion of the host Division by preparing letters confirming such actions and obtaining the signatures of the Division Chief and the Sponsor. Any other modifications must be processed through the same preparation, coordination and signature process described in 8.B. above.

(4) Recordkeeping. The host Division will document completion of the foregoing actions, record progress and accomplishments, and retain any forms collected in a personnel and/or project file.

D. Project Expiration, Termination or Extension.

(1) Extension. A project may be extended beyond the MOA's expiration date by preparing and submitting a written request for extension according to the same procedures for obtaining approval of a MOA (see paragraph 8.B. above). A sample request for extension is provided in Appendix D. Allow sufficient lead time to avoid a lapse in project authorization.

(2) Termination/Expiration. Prior to departure of the Research Associate(s), the host Division will:

(a) Notify the Chairperson, BEC, of the scheduled departure of the Research Associate(s) at least 30 days in advance.

(b) Collect any passes, keys, or other accountable items issued to the Research Associate during his/her tenure; and

(c) Document the personnel or project file of the foregoing actions (see 8.C.(4) above).

9. Reporting Requirements. The results of all research performed under each project will be prepared by the Research Associate for unrestricted publication in accordance with the terms of the MOA.


Appendix A

Part 500, Chapter 21







To the USGS Reviewer: Your critical comments on the scientific value of the proposed research are necessary for the evaluation process. 

1. Research Associate _______________________________________________ 

2. USGS Reviewer ____________________________________________________ 

3. Please comment on the following: 

a. Is the project compatible with or complementary to one or more of your programs? If your answer is yes, list/describe those programs. 

b. Has the applicant presented adequate information to show he/she understands the fundamental nature of the problem? 

c. Is the approach technically feasible? 

d. Has adequate time been allotted to bring the proposed study to a reasonable stopping point? 

e. Is special equipment required? Is it available? 

f. Does the host office/laboratory contain any proprietary information? 

If so, what steps should be taken to safeguard it during the time of this study? 

g. Additional remarks. 




Form 9-2062 Appendix B

(August 1992) Part 500, Chapter 21





Geological Survey


12201 Sunrise Valley Drive








BETWEEN _____________________________________________








The U.S. Geological Survey, hereinafter referred to as the USGS, under the provisions of 43 U.S.C. 36c and Section 3 of Executive Order 12591, agrees to supervise and administer on behalf of ______________________________________, hereinafter referred to as the Sponsor, a Project entitled _________________ ______________________, under the USGS Industrial Research Associate Program. The objective(s) of this Project is (are) __________________________________



The Project shall include (but not necessarily be limited to): 






(1) The Project described herein shall be conducted during the period commencing on or about ____________________ and ending on or about _____________, subject to extension by mutual agreement of the parties hereto, and to the provisions of Items (3), (5), and (6) below. 

(2) USGS shall be the supervising agency, both administratively and scientifically, for this Project of the Industrial Research Associate Program. 




Appendix B

Part 500, Chapter 21


The USGS Principal Collaborator for this Project shall be: 



(Name of Individual)








(USGS Organizational Unit)


(3) The scientific and technical progress of the Industrial Research 

Associate(s) shall be reviewed at least ____________________________________by

(Specify Desired Time Interval) 

both parties to this Agreement and more frequently if deemed advisable by either party. Such review shall precede approval of the work program for each succeeding period. The sponsor shall be represented in these reviews by: 



(Name, Title)


(4) __________________________ shall serve as Industrial Research Associate for the Project (See Appendix C, Note 1). The provisions applying to Industrial Research Associates in this Agreement shall also apply to members of their supporting staff while serving at USGS as employees of the Sponsor. 

(5) While it shall be the privilege and responsibility of the Sponsor to select the Industrial Research Associates, they shall also be acceptable to the USGS. The Sponsor and USGS each reserve the right to terminate the association with this Program of any individual Industrial Research Associate by providing at least thirty (30) days notice in writing to the other party. 

(6) The Sponsor and USGS each reserve the right to terminate this Project by providing at least thirty (30) days prior notice in writing to the other party. 

(7) Remuneration to the Industrial Research Associate(s) for travel, housing, and related expenditures shall be provided directly by the Sponsor. 

(8) The Sponsor shall reimburse the USGS for the cost of special supplies, materials, computation, technical assistance, and/or other special services provided to the Industrial Research Associate(s) by the USGS in connection with the Project. 

The Sponsor shall, as of the starting date of the period covered by this Agreement, establish a fund of $___________ at USGS from which such reimbursement may be drawn. (See Appendix C, Note 2.) 




Appendix B

Part 500, Chapter 21


Charges for such special supplies and/or services shall require the approval of the USGS Principal Collaborator and the Research Associate for this project (or Principal Research Associate, if more than one Associate is assigned) as designated herein. Such charges shall not exceed $____________ during the period covered by this Agreement without prior approval of the Sponsor. 

Special equipment and instruments obtained by the Sponsor from sources external to the USGS and provided by the Sponsor to the USGS for use in connection with the Project covered by this Agreement will be returned to the Sponsor at the Sponsor's expense and risk as soon as practicable after termination of this Agreement. The Sponsor agrees to assume full responsibility for maintenance of such equipment and instruments and agrees to hold USGS free from liability for any loss thereof or damages thereto. 

(9) Industrial Research Associates shall pursue their activities at the USGS on the work schedule mutually agreed upon between them, the Sponsor, and the USGS Collaborator designated herein, under the Federal Government security and conduct regulations that apply to USGS employees. Industrial Research Associates shall conform to the requirements of the Department of the Interior Employee Responsibilities and Conduct Regulations, 43 CFR 20.735-6(a),

20.735-15(a), 20.735-17(a) and successor regulations and Security Regulations, hereby made part of this Agreement, to the extent that these regulations prohibit private business activity or interest incompatible with the best interests of the Department. 

Industrial Research Associates shall comply with regulations that apply to USGS employees with regard to disclosure of proprietary or procurement- sensitive information, recusal from any activities which may present a conflict of interest, including procurements or other actions in which the Sponsor may have an interest. Associates may not represent the Sponsor or work for the Sponsor in competing for award from any other Federal agency while participating in this Program. 

Industrial Research Associates are prohibited from representing or performing activities for the Sponsor on any matters before the USGS on which the Research Associate worked at the USGS while participating in this Program. 

Industrial Research Associates are prohibited from acting as Government employees, including making decisions on behalf of the Government or performing inherently Governmental functions while working at USGS. 

(10) Rights to inventions made by a Research Associate which relate to work being performed within the scope of this Agreement shall become the property of the Research Associate, or the Research Associate's Sponsor pursuant to any existing employment agreement which requires an assignment 




Appendix B

Part 500, Chapter 21


from the Research Associate to the Sponsor, subject, however, to the Federal Government having a non-exclusive, irrevocable, paid-up license to have such inventions practiced for or on behalf of the United States throughout the world. The USGS shall have the initial option to retain the title to each subject invention made by its employees and in each subject invention made jointly by a Research Associate and a USGS employee. 

(11) Work completed by Industrial Research Associates shall be made available to the public under the same conditions as work performed by USGS employees. 

(a) The U.S. Geological Survey will have the right to announce and publish the results, facts or conclusions or any aspect of the work accomplished under this Memorandum of Agreement without advance notification or approval of the Sponsor. 

(b) Neither the Sponsor nor the Associate(s) shall announce, publish, or otherwise disclose information or conclusions resulting from the work performed or observed by the Geological Survey or by the Associate(s) under this Memorandum of Agreement until after review by the USGS. Such review will not be unreasonably delayed. 

(c) All manuscripts submitted for publication will carry the following notation: 

"Research supported by ___________________________________ and the


U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, under Memorandum 

of Agreement No._______________________________, Industrial Research 

Associate Program." 

(12) Industrial Research Associates are not employees of the USGS, and are not entitled to pay and benefits accruing to Federal employees. The Sponsor and the Industrial Research Associates shall hold the Federal Government free from all liability in connection with any injury incurred by the Industrial Research Associates, or in connection with any injury or damage resulting from any action or nonaction by the Industrial Research Associates while serving as such. The Sponsor may be held accountable for loss of or damage to Federal Government property (other than that resulting from normal wear and tear) occasioned by the Industrial Research Associates. The Sponsor agrees to supply all records which may have a bearing on any claim and to cooperate in any reasonable way toward the disposition of any claim which may arise hereunder. 



Appendix B

Party 500, Chapter 21


(13) The USGS is the repository for confidential information from many sources in private industry, and it is essential that this confidentiality be guaranteed. Because of this commitment of the USGS, Industrial Research Associates shall only work on problems the solutions for which do not involve using sensitive information. The USGS is responsible for safeguarding all confidential materials. The Research Associate agrees not to seek access to confidential information or to convey such information in any form. 

(14) All use of Government resources (e.g., computer systems, access to as yet unpublished data) must be approved by the USGS Principal Collaborator. 



____________________________________ U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY



____________________________________ _______________________________________




____________________________________ _______________________________________



____________________________________ _______________________________________




____________________________________ _______________________________________


Director, U.S. Geological Survey 


ADDITIONAL ASSOCIATES: (Affix signatures and typed names and titles of any additional Associate below) 




Appendix C

Part 500, Chapter 21









Note 1: If more than one Industrial Research Associate will be involved, one will normally be designated as "Principal Industrial Research Associate." 

Note 2: Make best estimate of total requirement; if total is large, arrangements can be made for periodic payments to fund; show total estimate in space provided in the second paragraph ("Such charges shall not exceed $__________"). 

If the amount of technician assistance likely to be required is anticipated to be in excess of that which the USGS is in a position to provide, the Sponsor should consider bringing in a technician to assist the Industrial Research Associate. (Note: It is sometimes possible to hire students or others locally to satisfy this requirement.) On occasions, effective pursuit of a program may be dependent on the use of professional services (e.g., mathematical analysis, computer programming, etc.), in excess of the nominal amount of consultation and guidance normally provided by USGS as part of its contribution to a Project under the Industrial Research Associate Program. In these instances, the cost of such services shall be borne by the Sponsor. If such a requirement is foreseen, Item (8) will be renumbered (8a), and the following statement added to the Agreement: 


"(8b) If for effective pursuit of this program the Industrial Research Associate should require professional assistance beyond normal available USGS assistance and consultation, such assistance may be provided by the USGS or other sources, but only with the written approval of the Sponsor. When provided by the USGS, such assistance will be furnished on a cost-reimbursable basis to be negotiated on the basis of the need as determined in each instance, and USGS shall invoice the Sponsor separately for the services rendered. Such services shall not be charged to any fund established under Item (8a) above." 




Form 9-2063 Appendix D

(May 1985) Part 500, Chapter 21













Memorandum Number: _______________________

Extension Number: _______________________ 

The Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. Geological Survey and _______________________________________, dated _______________________


for the purpose of ______________________________________________________

(Title of Project)

_____________________________________________________________ is hereby

extended for a period ending _________________________, upon the same

terms and conditions as the original Memorandum, except for the following: 




By ___________________________



By ___________________________







Director, U.S. Geological Survey