CARD Decision Matrix for Engagement

Last updated 15 January 2012

The University of Oklahoma Center for Applied Research and Development (CARD) was created as part of an initiative to strengthen and expand OU’s work in the applied research and development areas. CARD is unique in that it enables OU to provide access to the entire portfolio of Norman campus research capabilities and resources under a single organization and with a single organizational interface. CARD works with industry as well as federal mission agencies to solve specific industry and mission problems using OU’s highly-qualified pool of researchers and experts. 

In order to ensure that CARD provides the best value for the OU community, a selection matrix was created to help guide the decision for project engagement within CARD. This matrix is not scored, but rather used as a tool to determine if a project or opportunity is an appropriate fit for CARD and the OU organizations that may be involved. It is intended to ensure that the project review process is thorough and that there is a consistent foundation for project consideration and discussion. 

The CARD decision matrix for project engagement is intended to reinforce the specific role and mission of the center. Many types of projects and opportunities do not fall within the scope of CARD and do not require the use of the decision matrix. For example, there are specific types of projects and programs that fall within the scope of the College of Continuing Education (CCE) and these types of programs will not be considered for CARD. Examples include those that involve personnel services and placement, outreach efforts such as education and training, and other types of projects that do not involve any type of applied research and development. 

The decision to allow projects to reside in CARD lies ultimately with the OU VPR and the CARD Director in collaboration with the principal investigator. However, other university offices and personnel will also be involved in the decision process as needed and as appropriate including ORS, OTD, Export Controls, Legal Counsel, etc. CARD does not replace any of the responsibilities of any of these university offices. 

Please feel free to contact James Grimsley ( or the VPR office if you have any questions or need additional information about CARD or the role of CARD at OU. 

  Question Yes No


Does the project involve applied (not basic or inquiry-driven research or development that seeks to perform specific tasks requested by the funding organization and/or has defined deliverables?




Does the project have publication restrictions?




Is the project funded by a mission agency or office?




Is the project funded by a contract or procurement vehicle rather than a grant or cooperative agreement?




Does the project involve teaming or collaboration with a non-academic entity?




Are there specific TRL or MRL requirements or goals for the research?




Does the funding organization retain the rights to intellectual property generated during the course of the project and/or could the project be considered a "work for hire"?




Does the project have explicitly-stated manufacturing and production plans, goals or requirements?




Does the project involve continued development and expansion of intellectual property developed outside of OU?




Does the project involve non-faculty researchers as principal investigators or project lead researchers?




Are there specific requirements for participation by an industry partner as a contractual part of the research?




Does the funding or sponsor organization require an unlimited use license or retain other rights to the use of the research results or products?




Does the project have performance or delivery schedules that are based on calendar years (such as monthly deliverables) and difficult to reconcile or align with academic calendars?



Guidance and explanation: 

  1. Applied R&D projects typically have well-defined project milestones, project reviews, and explicit project deliverables. Basic or inquiry-driven research projects, on the other hand, are normally limited to laboratory demonstrations and research reports with fewer “hard deliverables”. Applied research and development projects will typically have detailed requirements for visibility into project tracking and control (schedules, decision gates, detailed performance reviews, etc). 
  2. Publication restrictions can sometimes distinguish basic research from applied research and development. In terms of DoD-funded projects, this is typically a distinction between projects funded by the sciences offices (and DARPA, etc) and those funded by the mission agencies. The mission agencies typically include publication restrictions on those projects that are considered applied R&D.  
  3. Mission agencies normally fund applied R&D projects whereas basic research is funded by agencies such as NSF, NIH, DARPA, ONR, AFOSR and I-ARPA. DoD research labs (NRL, AFRL, ARL, etc.) projects can be either basic or applied research efforts. 
  4. The funding vehicle for a project is typically distinctly different between basic and applied research and development projects. Basic and inquiry-driven research and development projects are typically funded by grants or cooperative agreements. In contrast, applied research and development projects are typically funded by contracts or procurement contract vehicles. 
  5. Teaming or partnering with non-academic entities and partners usually involves complex IP-related issues and tend to be applied rather than basic research. If the non-academic partner is required to develop software, hardware or systems (or modify existing systems) that will be delivered to the university’s funding sponsor, then it is likely that the project is an applied research and development project rather than basic research. 
  6. If technology readiness levels (TRL) or manufacturing readiness levels (MRL) are defined in a statement of work or contract, it is likely that the project is applied rather than basic research. This is especially true if there are TRL or MRL targets or objectives stated for final project results. 
  7. If the intellectual property rights are retained by the funding agency or organization, then it is likely that the project is an applied research and development project rather than a basic or inquiry-driven research project. For some research and development projects (especially consulting-type work), the project might be considered a “work for hire” where the funding organization retains the rights to the intellectual property or copyright similar to an employer’s ownership of IP or copyright. 
  8. Projects that have manufacturing or production plans or goals stated will tend to be applied rather than basic research. 
  9. If a project involves the continued development of technology that originates outside of the university, then it is likely to be an applied research and development effort. Typically, this type of project will begin at a TRL that is at the upper end (or higher) of what is typically seen with basic or inquiry-driven research projects. This type of project may also involve complex IP issues. 
  10. If a project involves non-faculty researchers as principal investigators or project leads, then it is likely that the project is more applied than basic research. 
  11. If there are specific contractual requirements for an industry partner or collaborator, then it is likely that a project is applied rather than basic research. These projects may also involve complex IP issues. 
  12. If the sponsoring or funding organization requires unlimited use licenses or otherwise retains rights to the results of the research or project, then it is likely that the project is an applied research and development effort rather than basic research. Applied research projects funded by the federal government typically contain unlimited use or unlimited license requirements. 
  13. Projects that contain schedule or deliverable requirements that are difficult to align with academic calendars tend to be applied research and development rather than basic research. Examples include projects with requirements for monthly status reports or projects that have program reviews that do not align with academic calendars or academic semester appointments for university personnel (for example, projects where graduate researchers may start on the project in mid-semester).
Examples of Applied Research Projects.pdf58.71 KB