External Partners

Conducting innovative research and industrial outreach are core missions of the College of Engineering, and opportunities to discuss industry needs are welcomed.  Industry funded projects help ISU faculty advance their knowledge base and develop students, in addition to helping providing solutions to industry’s challenges.  Collaborating with Iowa State’s engineering researchers offers your organization access to state-of-the-art facilities and creative minds focused on making a difference.

We take pride in our research partnerships, which include large corporations, local enterprises, government, and nonprofit organizations.  We understand that your ideas and intellectual property are important to the success of your organization and must be protected.  We routinely enter into confidentiality agreements, and the ownership of an intellectual property that results from collaborations is open to negotiation.

Follow these links for more information on confidentiality agreements and intellectual property ownership.

Research Projects

Industry funded research projects come in a large range of sizes and almost all of them begin with a conversation between a company representative and an ISU faculty or staff member.  The process for establishing a research project formally begins with the company defining the research needs and desired outcomes in a request for proposal.  The ISU researcher then responds to the request by preparing a proposal and a budget.  After obtaining the required ISU approval through the Gold Sheet process, the researcher presents the proposal to the company. The company may choose to fund the project as proposed or with modification.  Once a proposal and budget have been agreed upon, ISU’s Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA) will work with the company to put in place a sponsored research agreement.

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of conducting a research project with the College of Engineering, please contact the Engineering Research Institute and we will help connect you to a researcher that matches your interests.

State of Iowa companies can contact the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).


The knowledge of our faculty spans across traditional and emerging technical disciplines and many faculty members are willing to share their expertise in a consulting relationship.  If you need assistance connecting with a faculty member with expertise in a particular area, please email Associate Dean for Research, Arun Somani at arun@iastate.edu.

Find an Expert: Search the faculty database

Fee-For-Service Work

If a company has a need for specialized testing or other services that are available within the College, this is usually handled with a Fee-For Service Agreement. These projects differ from contract research projects in three basic ways:

  • The service is an application of established methods and techniques that are routinely performed;
  • The service does not involve any expert analysis or discretionary judgment;
  • No ISU intellectual property or new knowledge is anticipated to result from this activity or service.

Like contract research, Fee-For-Service work begins with a discussion between the interested company representative and the service provider at ISU.  Once the scope of the work is defined, the ISU service provider will work with the Office of University Counsel to establish a fee-for-service agreement with the company.

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of conducting a Fee-for-Service project with the College of Engineering, please contact the Center for Industrial Research and Services (CIRAS).


The College of Engineering has an amazing array of specialized equipment that organizations can utilize through research projects. The list of these facilities is too extensive to cover here but some information may be found on engineering department webpages and through the various Centers and Institutes.  One example of a specialized facility is the C6, a three-dimensional, fully immersive synthetic environment residing in our Virtual Reality Applications Center. Our unique, cutting-edge facilities can advance your company’s research efforts to attain optimal results. Please consult our full list of facilities.