The University of Missouri (MU) encourages entrepreneurial activities of its faculty, staff and students in a manner that is consistent with the mission and goals of the University. As a part of its efforts to encourage entrepreneurism MU is working with community leaders to establish a Technology Business Incubator that will provide space and services that nurture technology start-up companies. In spite of the lack of such an incubator at the present time, MU will still have opportunities to incubate MU-related start-up companies. Almost all such incubation activities will, by necessity, need to occur within the existing space in Schools, Colleges and Centers on campus. The following guidelines have been developed to provide a framework for faculty, staff and students who want to incubate start-up companies within current University-owned facilities. (It should be noted that a different set of guidelines will be established in the future upon MU obtaining and/or constructing an Incubation Facility).
The Office of Technology & Special Projects (OTSP) will be the primary staffing point for incubation requests at MU. OSTP will assist the incubation requestor in preparing all necessary paperwork and obtaining all approvals necessary to get the requestor up and running as quickly as possible. These approvals will include department chair or center director, dean or center director supervisor (if the center director supervisor is administratively higher than a dean, otherwise the center director’s dean), Conflict of Interest Committee, applicable compliance committees and offices (including, for example, the Institutional Review Board, Animal Care and Use Committee, and Office of Environmental Health and Safety), and other approvals required by the particular circumstances, as well as approval of the Advisory Committee on Space (ACS). Prior to bringing a request for allocation of incubation space to the Advisory Committee on Space, all other approvals regarding programmatic viability and compliance must have been obtained. The final decision on space allocation will reside with the Capital Review Committee (CRC). The ACS will forward its recommendation to the CRC, which will make the final decision on space allocation.
The following minimum requirements must be met before a request for use of University facilities for incubation space may be granted:
- Adequate space is not available in an incubator facility.
- The space is temporarily not needed for the academic mission of the department or unit and the University.
- The use of the space supports the mission and goals of the department (or center), College, School and University.
Order of Priority for Incubation Requests
If the foregoing minimum requirements are met, the following criteria will be used to establish the order of priority for the allocation of incubator space on campus.
- Incubation projects that support the development, transfer and/or commercialization of University intellectual property; and/or incubation projects in which the tenant sponsors research at the University via SBIR/STTR subawards or via other mechanisms.
- Incubation projects that more generally support faculty, staff or student entrepreneurial activities.
Procedures Used for Requesting Space for Incubation Purposes on Campus
- A College and/or School must identify facilities available within its own existing space in order to accommodate an incubation request. If space is not available within a College and/or School, then a request can be made to Space Planning and Management for campus space.
- A College and/or School will complete a Space Request Form, obtain proper internal signatures and forward the signed form to Space Planning and Management for review and Committee approvals.
- The Capital Review Committee (CRC) shall have final say on approving or disapproving the assignment of incubation space on campus.
- The tenant agrees to relocate to an Incubation Facility when construction of such a building is completed, provided there is space in the building to accommodate the tenant’s incubation function.
- The on-campus incubation space shall be viewed as contractual lease agreement between the University and the requestor. The negotiations of leases, collection of lease payments, and distribution of lease revenues will be managed by the Office of Business Services. A uniform rent structure will be established, including a median rent charged for each class of space (such as office, dry lab, wet lab, animal space, acreage) and discounts or premiums based on the quality of the space and other relevant factors. Rent income will be distributed as follows.
- The portion of the income needed to cover Plant Maintenance and Operations (PM&O) and utilities costs will be placed in the general operating fund; the remainder will be distributed to the department or unit that makes the incubation space available to the tenant.
- The incubation lease should be viewed as a temporary agreement and is subject to being terminated with a minimum notice of 90 days. A maximum incubation time allotment for utilizing on-campus space shall be 2 years from the date of the approved space assignment by CRC, subject to renewal by mutual written agreement of the University and tenant. A request for renewal may be resubmitted to Space Planning and Management prior to the expiration of the first incubation lease, and must be re-approved by CRC. The tenant should request renewal of the lease at least six months prior to its expiration to allow the approval process to be completed at least 90 days before the expiration of the lease.