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Intellectual property and research contracts

Intellectual Property (IP)

UHBW IP Policy

Research grant applications frequently contain a section on IP.  The subsequent contract or agreement from the funder will require you to agree to their terms, and will want to know the relevant background and foreground IP to your project. Please talk to R&I early in the process. The definition of IP is very broad, and can include your research results and data, as well as any eventual guidelines, new processes, patents and inventions.

For discussing ideas with colleagues at other institutions and especially when discussing with industry partners, then an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) should be put in place before any discussions take place.  Do not present your work at a conference even as a poster if it contains sensitive information, as it puts at risk being able to protect your IP.

The Grants Manager ( can advise on intellectual property for research grant applications, and for complex IP and commercialisation we have access to the University of Bristol's tech transfer office.

Research Contracts

Please notify the grants manager as soon as you know the outcome of your grant application.
Or Elinor Griffiths 0117 34 29883

Funders often have detailed questions about IP and finance, in particular, arrangements for both of these will have to be agreed before a contract can be signed.

There are various contracts required to be put in place once your study is funded.  Each of these should be signed by an authorised representative of your organisation and not by a researcher.  Signatures will be arranged by Research & Innovation (UHBW) or Research and Enterprise Development (University of Bristol) respectively.

  • A contract or letter of award containing terms and conditions from the funder
  • A collaboration agreement with any external organisations who have co-applicants on your grant
  • A subcontract with any organisations who are providing services (e.g. manufacturing a drug)
  • A site agreement with participating NHS sites (sometimes the Statement of Activities can be used.

Most of the issues boil down to understanding "who's doing what to whom and who's getting what in return". We usually need to clarify:

  • terms and conditions stipulated by the funder
  • which organisations are involved as employers of collaborators or sub-contractors
  • freedom to operate - can you use other people's IP? Do you need permission or a licence to use software, standard assessment tools etc
  • project outputs - what will the project deliver and how will it be rolled out and made available to others