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Darren L. Williams, Ph.D.
Physical Chemistry
Sam Houston State University

Cost Benefits of Partnering with SHSU and Dr. Williams

  • When annualized the current academic salary for Dr. Williams is 93% of the 2012 median salary in industry according to the ACS Employment Survey, so renting a brain is potentially cheaper than buying one. When annualized, this is a savings for the sponsor of almost $8,000.
  • Dr. Williams is able to spend 100% effort on your problem during the summer months. The university tacks on 32% fringe benefit charge and a 31.5% indirect cost charge to the labor subtotal, so a full summer of funding would cost the sponsor approximately $43k for 480 hours of a Ph.D. chemist's time. ($90 / hr all-inclusive).
  • SHSU allows a small portion of billable time to occur during the academic term (Sep - May). This is essentially 5 hours per week, but if this time is devoted to supervision of student work, an ample amount of work can still be performed during this time.
  • Academic institutions have an amazing array of instrumentation that your company may not have. The overhead costs tacked onto the labor rate is the price of admission to the instrumentation lab or computational facility. Our lab charges consumables costs on a per-day or per-sample basis in the range of $20. This may seem to add up, but so do the costs of solvents, vials, etc.
  • The Chemistry Department at SHSU has many eager chemistry majors who LOVE to study "real life" research problems. These students are also inexpensive when compared to hourly chemical technicians. A typical student will have a fully-burdened (with overhead) rate of $13 per hour all-inclusive. These students will graduate with a working knowlege of your industry and will be excellent prospects for future hires.


The number-one factor to consider is the principal investigator (PI). Find someone who understands your terms, your culture, your requirements, and the practical aspects of implementing the ideas proposed. Dr Williams has turned down funding because the project was not within his expertise. No obligation is implied by your contacting him. If your interests are in any of these areas, you should contact Dr. Williams. Download his CV/resume here (pdf).

  • Cleanliness verification, contact angle measurements, coupon tests
  • Solvent properties, surface tension and hydrostatic densities, Hansen solubility parameters vs Hildebrand solubility parameters
  • Solvent blending, solvent blend prediction, miscibility
  • Solvent substitution, reduction of hazards, reactivity, ozone depletion potential, or global warming potential
  • Material compatibility, polymer stress cracking, polymer swell, polymer processing solvents
  • Recrystallization and crystal morphology control based upon non-solvent interactions
  • High-explosive detection, solubility, modeling, spectroscopy, recrystallization, precipitation, and PBX production/processing
  • Spectral assignments and predictions (FTIR, Raman, UVVIS, XPS)
  • Computational chemistry, ab initio, density functional theory, quantitative structure property relationships (QSPR/QSAR)
  • Six-Sigma Blackbelt – consulting services

Cost Estimates

Dr. Williams has prepared a Microsoft Excel cost estimator. Download it here (xls). Use it to plan your budgets and to justify partnering versus hiring to solve your immediate-need R&D problems. This workbook is a good faith effort on Dr. Williams' part to allow future sponsors to plan their expenses for collaborative research. Actual sponsored work may not commence until a statement of work, mutually agreeable terms and conditions, and a final cost estimate are negotiated by University Administration. There are two pages - one for Consulting Services and one for Labwork. Examples are given of certain types of projects, but you may have to contact Dr. Williams to refine your thinking regarding the amount of time needed for a particular analysis or task.

Types of collabroation and their costs:

  • Consulting Services: $90 / hour all-inclusive with an open-ended duration and an expense cap of $16,000 / month (Jun - Aug) and $2,500 / month (Sep - May).
  • Visiting Scientist:You perform your research in our lab with our assistance. A budgetary estimate would be $6,000 / month facility fee which includes some assistance with the facilities. This is not training. The visiting scientist should be independent and capable of operating the instrumentation with minor assistance.
  • Sponsored Projects: Labor costs are the same as in consulting services. Student rates are $13 / hour all inclusive, but they must be in 1-month increments of 20 hrs / week. Consumables costs and non-capital-equipment purchases (if any) must be established and negotiated in the statement of work - proposal stage.

Actual sponsored work may not commence until a statement of work, mutually agreeable terms and conditions, and a final cost estimate are negotiated by University Administration. The above estimates may change without notice.

Starting the Collaboration Process

  1. If you are interested in the science or instrumentation available, then contact Dr. Williams. Bounce your ideas off him to see if there is a need to formally establish a collaboration. Many times you just need a suggestion of where to find the information you are seeking. This is FREE!
  2. If you have intellectual property concerns, then Dr. Williams and the University will negotiate and sign a non-disclosure agreement with your company. In some cases, a Master Services Agreement is desirable which allows Task Orders to be issued, work to be performed, and invoices to be issued on fairly short notice.
  3. If Sponsored Projects are envisioned, then a Statement of Work is discussed with Dr. Williams to see if he has the expertise and facilities to address your needs. If so, the Statement of Work is sent to the University along with a Request for Proposal (RFP). In competitive bid situations this can be sent to many institutions.
  4. Dr. Williams with proper approvals from University Administration will respond to the RFP and will provide a binding budget with a justification of costs.
  5. If your organization agrees that the approach presented in the proposal adequately addresses the needs in the Statement of Work, and that the cost is apprpriate, then a contract with final terms and conditions is sent to the University.
  6. It is very common for the University Contract Specialists to adjust these terms and conditions to protect intellectual property rights, so patience at this stage is key. Companies are rightly worried about the academic propensity to publish everything they do. The peer-reviewed publication is the academic "coin of the realm". However, Dr. Williams is very careful to keep sponsors informed of his publication plans. Often tangential studies to sponsored work are published with no impact on IP-related work.
  7. Once the contract terms and conditions are signed by both parties work can begin.

The shortest time frame for this process has been 1 month. The longest time frame for this process in Dr. Williams experience has been 4 months.

Some publications related to these topics include:

  • Williams, D. L.*; Kuhn, A. T.; O’Bryon, T. M.; Konarik, M. M.; Huskey, J. E., Contact Angle Measurements Using Cellphone Cameras to Implement the Bikerman Method, Galvanotechnik, 102(8), 1718-1725, (2011).
  • Williams, D. L.*; Kuhn, A. T.; Amann, M. A.; Hausinger, M. B.; Konarik, M. M.; Nesselrode, E. I. Computerized Measurement of Contact Angles, Galvanotechnik, 101(11), 2502-2512, (2010).
  • Williams, D. L.*; Kuklenz, K. D. Controlling the Particle-Size Distribution of Nitroanilines via the Hansen Solubility Parameters and Precipitation Paths, Proceedings of the 43rd Combustion Subcommittee Meeting of the Joint Army Navy NASA Air Force (JANNAF) Interagency Propulsion Committee, Enhanced Blast Phenomenology, La Jolla, (2009).
  • Williams, D. L.*; Kuklenz, K. D. A QSAR Model for Predicting Solvents and Solvent Blends for Energetic Materials, International Annual Conference of ICT, 40th(Energetic Materials), 2/1-2/11 (2009).
  • Williams, D. L.*; Kuklenz, K. D. A Determination of the Hansen Solubility Parameters of Hexanitrostilbene (HNS), Propellants Explosives and Pyrotechnics, 34, 452-457, (2009).
  • Kuklenz, K.D.; Williams, D. L.* An Evaluation of Modified IMS Swabs for the Screening of Oxidizers and Home-Made Explosives, Texas Journal of Science, 60(4), 299-308, (2008).
  • Williams, D. L.*, Jupe C. L., Kuklenz K. D., Flaherty T. J., An Inexpensive, Digital Instrument for Surface Tension, Interfacial Tension, and Density Determination, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research,  47(12),  4286-4289, (2008).
  • Williams, D. L.*, Flaherty, T. J., Al-Naslah, B. Beyond Lambda-Max Part 2: Predicting Molecular Color, Journal of Chemical Education, (2009), 86(3), 333-339..
  • Williams, D. L.*, Flaherty, T. J., Jupe, C. L., Coleman, S. A., Marquez K. A., Stanton J. J., Beyond Lambda-Max: Transforming Visible Spectra into 24-bit Color Values, Journal of Chemical Education, 84, 1873-1877, (2007)
  • Flaherty T. J., Timmons J.C., Wrobleski D. A., Orler E. B., Langlois D. A., Wurden, K. J., Williams, D. L.*,Infrared and Raman Spectral Signatures of Aromatic Nitration in Thermoplastic Urethanes, Applied Spectroscopy, 61(6), 608-612 (2007)
  • Lopez, E. P.*, Moddeman, W. E., Birkbeck, J. Williams, D.L.,  Benkovich M.G., Solvent Substitution – PART 2: The Elimination of Flammable, RCRA and ODC Solvents for Wipe Application, CleanTech Magazine, 4(10); 14-16 (2004)
  • Lopez, E. P.*, Moddeman, W. E., Birkbeck, J. Williams, D.L.,  Benkovich M.G., Solvent Substitution – PART 1: The Elimination of Flammable, RCRA and ODC Solvents for Wipe Application, CleanTech Magazine, 4(9); 16-19 (2004)
  • Williams, D. L., A Gage Repeatability and Reliability Study on the Use of Two Identical Gas Chromatography Systems to Perform Chemical Reactivity Testing, Pantex Technical Report, July, 2004.
  • Williams D. L., A Measurement System Evaluation of the Calibration of the Differential Scanning Calorimeter, Pantex Technical Report, April, 2004.
  • Williams D. L., Timmons J. C., Woodyard J. D., Rainwater K. A., Richardson B. R., Lightfoot J. M., Burgess C. E., and Heh J. L., UV-Induced Degradation Rates of 1,3,5-Triamino-2,4,6-Trinitrobenzene, Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 107(44); 9491-9494 (2003)
  • Williams D. L., Ashcraft R. W., A Technical Review of the Radiological Characterization of Nuclear Weapons at Pantex, Pantex Technical Report, April, 2003.