• Purpose
  • Policy
  • Definition of Terms
  • Further Information
  • Cross References


    To establish appropriate policies for technology transfer activities, including the establishment of faculty companies and consulting; and identifying and reducing the potential for conflicts of interest.


    Technology transfer must be effected within the framework of an individual's obligations to the University. Actions which serve personal interests to the detriment of University interests must be avoided. Outside activities should be pursued in a manner consistent with the primary obligations of University personnel to teaching, research, and service to the public.

    The potential for conflict of interest and/or commitment exists when University personnel exercise preferential access to knowledge, and/or University resources, for personal gain. The appropriate framework for faculty involvement in either commercial or not-for-profit enterprises, including "faculty companies," has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in concert with cognizant University administrators. Mechanisms whereby potential conflicts will be managed must be set forth in a Management Plan approved by the University’s Conflict of Interest Committee and/or the University Conflict of Interest Official per policy RP06, Disclosure and Management of Significant Financial Interests.

    As an adjunct activity, consulting should be carried out in a manner consistent with a faculty member's obligation to the University, including his/her terms of employment. All those individuals who carry the rank of Penn State faculty are allowed to engage in consulting up to a maximum of four days, or 40 hours, per month during their appointment period, per policy HR80, Private Consulting Practice. There are two other limitations:

    In extraordinary circumstances, if faculty need to exceed the monthly limit (but not exceed the annual limit of 360 hours for a nine-month appointment, or 480 hours for a twelve month appointment), approval must be given by the department chair.

    Faculty are expected to inform cognizant University administrator(s) of the extent and nature of consulting activities prior to undertaking them. (Refer to the Consulting Summary Report for forms used to report consulting activity.)

    A faculty member may not provide consulting services to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for additional compensation without prior written approval from the President of the University.


    Technology transfer
    is the process whereby University creative and scholarly works may be put to public use and/or commercial application.

    Faculty Company
    is an enterprise, either commercial or not-for-profit, in which one or more faculty members have a proprietary or other significant interest, pecuniary or otherwise.

    Cognizant University administrators
    include deans, department heads, program and center directors, office directors, or other individuals delegated by the budget executive to administer such matters.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research.


    A complete statement on the University's policies and procedures relative to technology transfer and entrepreneurial activities, including consulting, is available in the document entitled, "University Policies Governing Technology Transfer & Entrepreneurial Activity," available from the Intellectual Property Office.

    Also see other appropriate Policies, especially the following:

    AD47 - General Standards of Professional Ethics

    HR35 - Public Service By Members of the Faculty and Staff

    HR40 - Annual Evaluation of Faculty Performance

    HR42 - Payment of Personal Compensation by a State Agency or Department of the Commonwealth

    HR64 - Academic Freedom

    HR76 - Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

    HR80 - Private Consulting Practices,

    HR91 - Conflict of Interest

    IP01 - Ownership and Management of Intellectual Property(Formerly RA11)

    IP02 - Co-Authorship of Scholarly Reports, Papers and Publications(Formerly RA13)

    IPG03 - What to Expect When Licensing a Penn State Technology into a Start-Up Company (Formerly RAG14)

    Effective Date: September 13, 2016
    Date Approved: September 12, 2016
    Date Published: September 13, 2016

    Most Recent Changes:

    Revision History (and effective dates):

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