Guide To Research Collaboration

Research Collaboration

NUS takes part and is actively involved with external parties in industry, other institutions and universities, private and public companies in carrying out research collaborations.
How is this different from a Research Grant?

A research grant is funding for an NUS research project with or without an external party collaboration and with or without the use or sharing of intellectual property rights.
When will a research collaboration agreement be necessary?

A research collaboration agreement is required whenever an external party is involved with NUS and or there is a likelihood of inventing, creating or developing new Intellectual Property in the research project.
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, develop and draft your research proposal and get it approved by your respective head of department and the Dean. After your research proposal is approved by your respective head or Dean, forward it to the Office or Research or Office of Life Sciences as the case may be for their approval. The Office or Research or Office of Life Sciences will contact ILO to seek assistance in preparing a research collaboration agreement.

What should I watch out for in my discussion with the outside party?

Refer all discussions of ownership, sharing and licensing of intellectual property to the professional staff at ILO.
What are the issues that will delay the agreement?

The issues that we have identified which most often delay a negotiation are:

  • Ownership and access to intellectual property rights
  • Publication rights
  • Warranty
  • Indemnification
What is NUS' position on intellectual property rights and publication rights?

NUS owns all intellectual property rights generated in NUS, notwithstanding that funding is provided by sponsors. In general, NUS is agreeable to in-house non-commercial use of research results. To accommodate the needs of sponsors, NUS is willing to license intellectual property rights resulting from the research back to the sponsors for a negotiated royalty.

NUS accommodates a reasonable publication delay of 30 days for the purpose of review. We may also agree to an additional delay not exceeding 60 days to allow for the preparation and filing of patent application.
What can I do to speed up the process?

ILO can initiate the drafting of an appropriate agreement if you can provide us in advance the following information:

  1. Name and address of sponsor or collaborating agency
  2. Area of expertise that is required of you
  3. Title of research project
  4. Project Schedule
  5. Amount of Funding
  6. Expectation of external party, sponsor or collaborating agency
  7. In-kind Contribution and Funding from NUS.
What should I include in the Project Schedule?

The Project Schedule (also known as Schedule 1), will be appended to the agreement and should include the following:

  1. Background
  2. Scope of Work
  3. Project Schedule
  4. Deliverables
  5. Inputs to the Project
  6. Payment Schedule
  7. Budget for the project
What about warranty?

NUS does not warrant the fitness of use of the intellectual property generated from a research project. The intellectual property is usually untested and the University has no control on how the experimental results are used.
What about indemnification?

The University requires the external party or collaborator to indemnify the University if the external party or collaborator intends to use the results of the research. This legal protection is crucial as the University has very little control on how the external party or collaborator develop, use and market the results of the research or technology developed.

How long does it take to finalise an agreement?

If the outside party understands and accepts the University's position on intellectual property rights, publication rights, warranty and indemnity, then the agreement can be concluded quickly.
What about overhead charges and Goods & Services Tax (GST)?

Indirect Research Cost (IRC) is levied to meet the additional costs incurred by the University in accepting externally-funded research projects. A minimum rate of 20% is levied on the total research project direct costs awarded by government, non-profit, charitable organisations and foundations supporting scientific research. A higher rate of at least 60% of total project direct costs is applicable to all Contract Research and research grants funded by all other external agencies, grantors and companies. You may refer to the following link for more information "External Research Grants & Research Collaborations with External Parties".

The prevailing GST rate is also levied on the total direct project costs from the industry partner.

Download the Schedule 1 template. [link]