Funded vs. Unfunded Agreements
Funded (or Sponsored Research) Agreements
Northwestern enters into many types of research agreements with sponsors, including the federal government, foundations, other universities, and industry. These relationships are governed by agreements between Northwestern and the sponsor that define each party’s rights and obligations in the relationship. Sponsored research agreements, including incoming subcontracts, usually require negotiation between the University and the sponsor, and always require the approval/signature of the Office for Sponsored Research (OSR).
Researchers often collaborate on research or share research tools with other scientists or institutions without receiving funding. For many unfunded collaborations, a written agreement is beneficial or necessary. Unfunded agreements set out expectations, terms, and requirements that protect the interests of the investigators and the participating organizations. Often these agreements are incorporated within the funded agreements described above. It is important to note that an unfunded agreement may involve the provision or exchange of something of value, and the relevant department will need to determine whether what Northwestern provides under the agreement is commensurate in value with what we are receiving. Further, unfunded agreements sometimes contain restrictive language that may conflict with basic academic rights, intellectual property rights, and/or other terms that must be negotiated by OSR.
Frequently Used Agreements
Information about the most commonly used types of agreements can be found on the pages listed below and in the navigation at left. Funded and unfunded agreements not listed below are described in a summary of other agreements.