Collaboration agreements

Drawing up a collaboration agreement at the start of a project, before any intellectual property (IP) has been generated, can save a lot of negotiation later on.

EPSRC requirements

When we award a research grant for a collaborative project we expect there to be a formal collaboration agreement in place before the project begins, to make sure that the IP arising from the research can be managed effectively.

We will not become involved in negotiating agreements but expect an agreement acceptable to all parties to exist. Agreements must not conflict with the terms and conditions of EPSRC research grants.

Model collaboration agreements

As a minimum, an agreement should cover:

  • Arrangements for the management and co-ordination of the project
  • Responsibilities (including funding) and liabilities of the partners
  • IP arrangements
  • Reporting and publication arrangements, access to results and confidentiality provisions
  • Consequences of termination/default and ways of handling disputes

The Intellectual Property Office has drawn up a set of model agreements to help universities and businesses (especially small and medium-sized enterprises) to collaborate more effectively. The agreements set out a range of approaches to ownership and exploitation of IP. They are easy to modify so that the wording can be customised to reflect the deal negotiated.