Contract research allows an organisation to access the expertise of academics to improve its products or services. It is used when a company’s in-house capabilities are insufficient so the company procures specialist expertise. The company commissions the University to undertake the research on its behalf.
Before committing to a contract research project, a number of considerations need to be made. Confidentiality will be expected and agreed in the contract, as it is likely the project will involve commercially-sensitive information. Intellectual property developed during the project (foreground IP) is likely to belong to the organisation (though this should be negotiated in order that the University can access it for research purposes), whereas the intellectual property that already existed (background IP) will remain in the possession of the owning party. The project is likely to be time-bound, and involve specified deliverables. A key indicator of contract research is that the organisation is likely to be paying all the costs directly to the University. It is unlikely that public / charitable research funders will fully or partly fund a project which is deemed to be contract research.
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Research & Enterprise
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