Research Contract Negotiation & Management

Forming research or commercial relationships with external parties, such as other educational institutions, research centres, commercial companies or government agencies can be a complex process. To safeguard the interests and intellectual property rights of NUS and our faculty, ILO undertakes the negotiation, drafting and placement of collaboration agreements and contracts to govern relationships involving IP and research with external parties.

There are many types of research agreements that can be implemented by ILO and we have extensive expertise at hand to maximally represent and protect the interests of NUS researchers. Research agreements executed by ILO generally fall into one the following four classes:

Research Collaboration Agreements (RCA): An RCA is an agreement between two parties to conduct research together. Typically no money is exchanged and any intellectual property, discoveries and publications are shared. An RCA formalizes the division of labor and outcomes in a single document before any studies are begun.

Find out more about NUS RCA policies or initiate an RCA

Contract Research Agreements (CRA): CRAs are also research relationships, but are typically more unilateral in nature. An External party will exchange money for a defined research project or outcome from an NUS researcher. Usually the party receiving payment forfeits their intellectual property rights in the exchange. Details of payment and services/outcomes rendered are formalized in the CRA. This type of agreement is also sometimes called a fee-for-service agreement.

Find out more about NUS CRA policies or initiate a CRA

Materials Transfer Agreements (MTA): MTAs formalize the transfer of materials, reagents or other research tools from one party to another. Such materials usually carry some kind of intellectual property value and the MTA governs the terms and conditions of the material’s use by the recipient. Most MTAs cover the exchange of biological reagents (antibodies or plasmids) but can also apply to software or design prototypes.

Find out more about NUS MTA policies or initiate an MTA

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA): An NDA is a legal agreement between two or more parties put in place before a discussion or sharing of ideas. Depending on the direction of information flow or sharing, a one or two way NDA can be implemented. Parties agree not to disclose or disseminate information to parties outside of the discussion and that all information sharing remains confidential. NDAs are often used when discussing inventions or ideas before formal intellectual property protection is in place or when confidentiality is essential.

Find out more about NUS NDA policies or initiate an NDA

Click here for general information about Research agreements (you will need to log in to the NUS Staff portal)

In all of our agreements, the principle of mutual benefit for all parties forms the basis of negotiation, with the perspective of the University as a publicly-funded, academic institution necessarily taking prominence. In doing this, the University's Intellectual Property Rights are protected and its reputation as a premier academic institution is maintained.

Visit our Guide to Research Collaborations for more in depth information.