Information For Industry
Part of the Center's mission is to promote private sector innovation by helping Northwest companies address their own specific challenges in materials analysis, research and development. Whether its access to specialized equipment, faculty expertise, or assistance with R&D; AMSEC can help connect your company to the most appropriate resources in a timely, responsive manner. Most small and medium-sized companies have limited in-house scientific and engineering resources; AMSEC can partner with your business to help provide the missing pieces.
The first step is to contact us to discuss the appropriate framework for working with the Center. We use two approaches, depending on the scope of the project: 1) R&D partnerships and other long-term projects are administered through WWU's Office of Research and Sponsored Projects. 2) Relatively routine analyses involving a small number of samples or projects of limited scope and duration are handled directly by the Center.
The Center provides specialized chemical and physical testing services to Northwest companies that are either difficult to obtain or not available elsewhere in our region. Services include DSC, TGA, XRD, SEM, optical microscopy, FTIR, UV-VIS, Fluorimetry, and other methods. See our Resources page for a complete listing of capabilities. Testing is performed on a fee-for-service basis with hourly rates for equipment, student and staff time. Center personnel can either perform the testing for you and provide a written report, or in some cases we provide access to equipment for your qualified employees to use themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can AMSEC help my company?
The Center works with companies on materials analysis, research and development activities to help you introduce new or improved materials into your products, adopt cleaner or more efficient materials technologies, and solve technical challenges related to materials selection and usage. AMSEC faculty include experts in a range of areas, from polymers and composites, to nano-, geo-, and electronic materials, analytical chemistry, and many other subdisciplines of materials science and engineering. The Center assembles a team of students and faculty for each project to include the combination of skills and expertise needed to help address your specific needs and provides other resources such as specialized instrumentation or laboratory facilities. Projects can range from materials analysis, to assessment of materials selection and compatibility, to long term R&D partnerships. In general we do not perform routine quality control testing or production monitoring, perform measurements for purposes of regulatory compliance, or duplicate services already available from commercial providers in our region.
How are projects selected?
AMSEC works with many different companies, but each year receives more requests for assistance than we are able to accommodate. Since the Center’s primary mission is to educate students and advance knowledge and understanding, meaningful student involvement and the potential for significant scientific or engineering developments are important criteria in project selection. Your projects provide valuable experiences to undergraduate and graduate students, helping them improve their technical and professional skills while working to solve real-world problems.
How much will my project cost?
Project assistance is provided as a non-profit service to industry through the Center’s mission to help promote private sector innovation. Fees are based on the type and amount of instrumentation usage, personnel time, and any consumables or supplies used in the work. Most projects cost between $500 and $5,000.
How long will it take to complete my project?
It depends on the scope and complexity of your project, with completion times ranging from a week or two for relatively routine measurements, to a year or longer for some R&D projects.
What if my project involves proprietary information and/or samples?
The Center is accustomed to dealing with proprietary samples for materials testing purposes and offers standardized non-disclosure and sample transfer agreements to protect the commercial interests of sponsors. Copies of these forms are available to download below.
What if a patentable invention is made in the course of my project?
AMSEC’s intellectual property policy is similar to that at most other universities: inventions made solely by your company are owned by your company, inventions made solely by WWU personnel are owned by WWU, and inventions made jointly are jointly owned. The complete policy is available here. In practice, patentable inventions resulting from the types of projects the Center usually performs for industry are very uncommon, and it would be rare for this issue to come up at all.
How are projects managed?
Your project will be led by a WWU faculty member who will supervise students and staff, direct the project, and ensure the quality and timeliness of outcomes. Multidisciplinary projects requiring knowledge and expertise in more than one area are conducted by teams of faculty and students, sometimes drawn from several academic departments. Once your project is selected, the Center will handle the details of project management and participant selection for you. Every project includes a final report and may include interim reports or meetings, depending on scope and duration.
Can staff from my company use AMSEC equipment themselves?
In some cases – Yes, after they have been trained and qualified to use the equipment.
What companies and intstitutions has AMSEC recently partnered with?
Recent partnerships have been made with Idex Health and Science as well as Polyform US and Sienna Technologies, Inc. located in Woodinville, Washington.