This note concerns Faculty and their staff (e.g. grad students, postdocs, research engineers) who use SolidWorks for academic research. If this does not apply to you, no need to read on.

Executive Summary
The best solution for us to obtain SolidWorks for research purposes costs $350 per year, and entitles us to 3 seats of the full version.

As communicated by PHAS IT recently, the Education Edition of SolidWorks - which we currently run - is not to be used in research projects. The best way to have SolidWorks available for research projects is via CMC Microsystems. CMC is a federally incorporated, non-profit corporation through which we can access various design tools, including SolidWorks. 

Some implementation details have been left out, but below is an overview of the solution.

Obtaining Software Licenses - Overview of the Process

  * The process centres on the Faculty member: they pay an annual subscription, then grant access to software tools to their team members.
  * Each Faculty member must sign up and purchase a "Designer" subscription at a cost of $350 for 12 months.
  * The Designer subscription comes with 3x free licenses for design tools, one of which is SolidWorks. Additional seats of Solidworks are $50 per seat per year. All 3x free passes can be nominated as SolidWorks licenses if desired.
  * Team members (grad students, post docs, research staff) must also sign up with CMC, then be approved as a member of the research team.
  * Thereafter team members can use SolidWorks by accessing CMC's license server via a Java application on their computer.

Information on CMC

What this switch entails

  * Uninstalling and reinstalling Solidworks.
  * Everyone needing Solidworks must go through the registration and verification process with CMC. The full process takes several days to complete.
  * Paying annual subscription fees of $350 per research group, plus any additional seats purchased.


  * Access to full SolidWorks licenses, including finite element analysis.
  * No switch of CAD software, ability to open existing Solidworks files.
  * Lower costs and a smoother transition than all other alternatives examined. Solidworks Academic Research licenses cost $2,000-$4,000 per seat to purchase, and have $650 - $1,000 recurring maintenance fees per seat per year.

Other notes

  * We are still clarifying the situation regarding CAD files created in the Education Edition by undergraduates as part of degree courses, but used in a research context. For example, a lab-sponsored student design project. Contact the Technical Services Director for updated information.
  * Research publications which benefit from CMC's products and services are encouraged to include an acknowledgement.
Next Steps
  * Please let the Technical Services Director know if you and your group wish to adopt this solution.
  * We will provide assistance with the roll out where we can.