Open source has made it much easier to navigate the treacherous waters of intellectual property (IP) negotiations between academia and industry. The growing open source competence of product managers also makes it easier for companies to parcel out components and to sponsor open source projects at universities.
Just how expensive is it? A German Ph.D. student year will set you back 120k Euro, a Canadian Ph.D. student year will cost you 30k Euro if backed by MITACS, and a Malaysian Ph.D. student year will cost you about 10k Euro. I have facilitated and performed many such projects, so please be in touch if you are interested in sponsoring Ph.D. student work that produces open-source software.