How is research collaboration different from receiving a research grant?
A research grant is funding award received which enables the PI to achieve some specific goals that fit within the context of the general objectives of the grantor. Acceptance of a grant obligates the PI and IPS to terms and conditions specified by the grantor. Typical examples of grants are NSFC grants, NIH grants etc.
A research collaboration is the conduct of research project jointly among two or more separate organizations whereby a research collaboration agreement is negotiated and executed between the parties involved in the project.
When will a research collaboration agreement be necessary?
A research collaboration agreement is required whenever an external party is participating in the research project, in particular if there is a need to bind the external party to its commitment to the project and there is a likelihood of inventing, creating or developing new Intellectual Property.
How do I initiate an agreement?
When you are approached by an external party to work on a research project, or if you intend to carry out research collaboration with one or more external parties, please contact BD department to seek assistance in preparing a research collaboration agreement.
Am I in the position to decide and commit terms relating to IP and other legal obligations?
Please refer all such discussions to BD department. All decision in relation the IP and research contractual obligations and liabilities will be decided by BD department, together with the relevant authorities within IPS where necessary.
Who is authorized to sign an agreement?
The completed agreements must be approved and signed by the appropriate IPS authorities, consistent with the IPS Policy on Approving and Signing Authority (2016).
What are the issues that will delay the agreement?
Issues that usually result in protracted negotiations are:
Ownership of intellectual property rights
What are some of IPS’typical non-negotiable terms in a research collaboration?
IPS retains the right to publish the project results and the right to use the project results and intellectual property created for internal, non-commercial research, and academic purposes. IPS does not provide indemnities, in particular, indemnity for IP infringement. IPS also does not provide warranties for the merchantability or fitness of the project results or research output.
How long does it take to finalize an agreement?
The time needed to finalize an agreement really depends on the motivation of both parties to reach a mutually-beneficial consensus. Often, contract negotiations are protracted when collaborators impose unreasonable and onerous terms. From experience, it generally takes between 6-8 weeks to conclude an agreement. All BD managers strive to turn around all documents as expeditiously as possible.
What can I do to speed up the process?
Delays in concluding a agreement can be due to several factors, many of which are external and often out of control of BD department. However, PIs can help by ensuring that relevant technical information is properly completed before submission to BD and that the correct Indirect Research Costs (IRC) rate are accounted for in the project budget.
What about Consulting?
Each full-time faculty member (asst. Prof and above) may undertake consultation work (for an external party) subject to the prior approval of IPS, and in accordance to the policy Consultation Work Scheme. Please note that such consultation work is a private arrangement between the staff and the external party. IPS should not be a contracting party in any contract in relation to such consultation work and should there be any terms and conditions that will obligate IPS in these contracts. Please also be mindful that the scope of the consultation work cannot be the same as that of the any research projects that IPS may have undertaken or will be undertaking with the external party.