Research Agreements - A Guide for Industry
The Nature of Research at UW-Madison
Research universities believe instruction and research are interdependent and take care to integrate teaching and research to advance the frontiers of science and technology. Any research undertaken at UW-Madison should result in new knowledge and provide substantive educational opportunities for students.
Industrially-sponsored research projects must maintain a balance between the UW's pursuit of research as an integral part of the educational process and industries' need for the applied development of products, processes, and services. The following contract policies apply to UW-Madison research agreements with industrial sponsors:
Since state-of-the-art research is by nature unpredictable and without guarantee of success, UW research is conducted on a reasonable-efforts basis. Our investigators are sensitive to the differing time constraints of industrial sponsors; however, the UW cannot accept contract provisions that impose penalties for failure to make progress or provide for the withholding of payment if the sponsor is not satisfied with the results.
The UW does not knowingly enter into research agreements that involve commitments and obligations that are in conflict with those accepted under other agreements. Special procedures for dealing with actual or perceived conflicts may, in appropriate cases, be included in research agreements. UW-Madison does not, however, accept blanket provisions that preclude the investigator or the University from performing research for sponsors in related areas.
The free exchange of ideas among faculty and students is a fundamental principle of the University. As such, the teaching and research environment are open. The University's research activities are conducted as an integral part of the total educational program, and these activities often form the basis for articles in professional journals, seminar reports, presentations at professional meetings, and student dissertations and theses. Therefore, the University will undertake research only if the scientific results can be published or otherwise promptly disseminated. Copyrights and publication rights belong to the University and/or the author.
PATENTS AND OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is unusual among universities because it does not claim ownership rights of the intellectual property of its faculty, staff and students produced during research, except as required by funding agreements or other University policies, including the right of the University to use such property for its educational and research purposes.
Use of the University's Name
Wisconsin State Statute provides that the name "University of Wisconsin" is the property of the State and that no person or entity shall use that name without permission of The Board of Regents. A sponsor is not permitted to state or imply in any publication or other published announcement that the University has approved of any product that is or might be manufactured, sold, or otherwise distributed. The University also requires that its name not be used in connection with any advertisement, press release, or other form of business promotion or publicity, or refer to a research agreement, without its prior written approval.
Liability, Risk and Best Effort
Research results are unpredictable. Because we can't guarantee that the results are what the sponsor hoped for, University research is conducted on a "best efforts" basis. The University will not accept contract provisions that guarantee specific results or provide for withholding of payment if the sponsor is not satisfied with the results. The University will agree, however, to indemnify the research sponsor for the conduct of University officers, agents, employees, students, invitees, and guests working under contracts.
After an award is made, investigators at the UW are served by a web of support that includes departmental administration, Dean's level assistance, and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Each of these offices helps ensure the careful stewardship of award funds. Investigators are further assisted by compliance units, such as those governing protection of human subjects, biosafety, occupational and environmental protection, and animal welfare, that are applicable to all research conducted at the University.
Under Federal, State and University requirements, all faculty and staff must file Conflict of Interest disclosure statements indicating whether or not they have a direct or indirect financial interest in any private sponsor of their research. When disclosure indicates that a financial interest exists, a committee composed of faculty and administrators conducts an independent substantive review of the disclosure statement and the research project. If it is needed, the committee assists the Investigator with a management plan to eliminate the conflict.
In the unlikely event that a funding agreement is terminated by the sponsor for any reason, the sponsor is expected to reimburse the University for all costs incurred to the date of termination and for all uncancellable obligations.
An excellent document provided by the Association of University Technology Managers may be accessed at this link: In the Public Interest: Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology.
We will be happy to discuss these terms with you:
William W. Barker, Interim Director
Robert (Bob) Gratzl, Industrial Partnerships Specialist
Richelle Martin, Industrial Partnerships Specialist