Collaboration Agreement Primer: Basics for Busy PIs

As a busy PI conducting research, have you ever wondered why your institution asks you to complete certain agreements related to your research and what do they all mean. In a recent article in Nature Biotechnology, Colm Lawler, PhD, Senior Licensing Manager and his co-authors attempt to provide a guide for navigating the alphabet soup of agreements that a PI may encounter. Dr. Lawler notes that the rationale and objectives for various agreements are not always clearly understood by researchers and can often feel like burdensome paperwork to be burdened with rather than important documents providing protection for the researcher and their institution.

The first section of the article deals with agreements involved in establishing a research collaboration, including with either a company or another non-profit institution. Also included in this section are agreements that may often arise during the conduct of the research and which are required for the research to continue. Some of the agreements highlighted are Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs), Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) and Clinical Trial Agreements (CTAs). The second section deals with agreements related to how the results of research may be commercialized by private industry and includes information on Inter-Institutional Agreements (IIAs), Institutional Revenue Sharing Agreements (RSAs) and also Licensing Agreements.

The article provides an introduction to some of these relevant agreements that a PI can use for subsequent research planning. Dr. Lawler states “In Innovation are always happy to explain to you why certain agreements are required and the objectives for putting these agreements in place. Hopefully this article will help PIs navigate the many agreements they might encounter more effectively and which is all to our benefit.”

To view the entire article, visit Nature Biotechnology. Access is free if you are a subscriber. If not, the article can be rented for a nominal fee.