Negotiating and Accepting Agreements
Authority to review, negotiate, and endorse sponsored agreements has been delegated to the Office for Sponsored Research. OSR negotiates a range of agreements and agreement terms with potential collaborators. Each agreement – and associated negotiation – is tailored to the scope and nature of the work, the type of organization sponsoring the work, and the individual investigators and research programs involved. If information is received directly from the sponsor at the unit, school, or Principal Investigator level, communicate with the assigned Contracts Officer or Grants Officer in order to expedite the negotiation/ endorsement process. The status of negotiations can be reviewed in InfoEd under the specific proposal number (i.e. #SP00XXXXX)
An agreement must be signed, or institutionally endorsed, by OSR in order for the agreement to be formally recognized by and be binding upon the University. Individual faculty members, including chairs and deans, are NOT authorized representatives of Northwestern University and may not negotiate or endorse sponsored agreements on behalf of Northwestern. Many sponsors issue unilateral agreements that do not require institutional counter signatures. In these cases, OSR is expected to notify the sponsor if there are terms and conditions that are not acceptable to the Institution or the investigator. Some sponsors issue bilateral agreements, requiring an institutional countersignature. For these agreements, OSR must often to negotiate changes to sponsor terms and conditions related to intellectual property rights, rights to publish, confidentiality, termination, and indemnification language in order to ensure appropriate protections for the investigator and the University.
Engaging with Industry
The Guide for Industry is a summary of the broad principles specifically applicable to research agreements between Northwestern University and industrial or commercial organizations.
Northwestern’s Standard Research Agreement is available to provide to collaborators before formal negotiations occur. It offers terms that Northwestern could endorse with efficiency. Formal negotiations (including any negotiations involving detailed budgets) must involve OSR. In order to protect each of the collaborators to a potential agreement, or under a potential project, confidential information should NOT be exchanged until a CDA is fully executed by the authorized representatives of each of the collaborators.