Reforming Federal Rules on Corporate-Sponsored Research at Tax-Exempt University Facilities

Authors: Brian Darmody & Bill Bates


Improving university/corporate research partnerships is key to advancing US competitiveness. Reform of the IRS rules surrounding corporate sponsored research taking place in university facilities funded by tax-exempt bonds has long been sought by the higher education community and will stimulate more public-private partnerships. With Congress considering new ways to fund research through a new NSF Technology Directorate and the possibility of a large infrastructure package, an opportunity is now open for Congress to address these long-standing reforms in IRS rules.

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About the Authors

Brian Darmody is CEO of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a global nonprofit representing research parks and innovation districts sponsored by universities, federal laboratories, hospital systems, and communities. Brian previously served in many roles at the University of Maryland, College Park, including Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Assistant to the President for State and Federal Government Affairs. He serves on the Maryland Venture Authority Board, among other board positions. Brian holds a B.A. from UMD, College Park, and a J.D. from University of Baltimore Law School.

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Bill Bates is Executive Vice President of the Council on Competitiveness and was the founding Executive Director of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils. Bill recently led multi-year initiatives to explore the economic opportunity for advanced manufacturing in the United States and the development of a national cybersecurity agenda. Since 2019, Bill has been spearheading a new Council initiative, the University Leadership Forum, to draw greater attention to higher education’s role in U.S. competitiveness: from leadership in game-changing technologies to the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs. Bill previously served as Director of Government Relations for the United States Telecom Association. Prior to that, he was Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to House Commerce Committee member U. S. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA). He advised the Congresswoman on a wide range of technology issues including telecommunications, biotechnology, and intellectual property. Before joining Ms. Eshoo’s team, Bill was an Associate with the Washington, DC-based public affairs company Cassidy & Associates. Bill holds a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree in government and history from Cornell University.

The authors would like to acknowledge technical review and suggestions by Ballard Spahr Tax Partner, and former IRS branch chief at Office of Chief Counsel, Vicky Tsilas.