The NIHR is interested in ensuring that the research it supports is undertaken in an environment that promotes maximum dissemination and if appropriate, exploitation of any results. It is essential therefore, that the NIHR is aware of who is involved in the research and how that relationship is governed. With this in mind, Contractors should be aware that NIHR may wish to review any collaboration agreements before they are executed to ensure that they are consistent with the NIHR research contract. The standard research contract places obligations on organisations to disclose arrangements made with third parties, and to ensure that no agreements are entered into which prevent organisations from complying with the terms of the contract.
When research involves collaborators, the Contractor should consider the most effective way to formally manage this arrangement. For NIHR-funded research, this is most often achieved through a collaboration agreement. Several templates are available as a starting point (see below), and indeed institutions will often have their own, but such an agreement should be specific to the arrangement in question and be suitable to the context of its usage.
Templates for collaboration agreements
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright. They have published seven model research collaboration agreements for universities and companies that wish to undertake collaborative research projects together.
The Brunswick Group has developed a number of template agreements for use between two universities or similar not-for-profit organisations.
The United Kingdom Clinical Research Collaboration has published a suite of model agreements that sponsors and host institutions can used 'off the shelf' for commercial research on medical devices, research with contract research organisations, and commercial research in primary care.
Nationally approved standard agreements help speed up the contracting process for industry-sponsored trials carried out in the NHS by removing the need for site-by-site reviews and local legal agreements to be drawn up.
This suite of model agreements aims to help trial start earlier, improving the speed of industry-sponsored clinical trials and giving NHS patients faster access to innovative treatments.