Research Agreements

The University utilizes many different types of research contracts to facilitate its research efforts. The most common research contract is a sponsored research agreement; however there are several other types of non-financial agreements (NFAs)/research contracts that are designed to protect university ideas, materials and research results.

These NFAs are all managed by the NDSU Business Development Office. NDSU policy gives this office, under the umbrella of the Vice President for Research and Creative Activities, signature authority to sign these agreements on behalf of NDSU. As a general rule, NDSU faculty, staff and students should not personally sign any research contract.


Confidentiality Agreements

Confidentiality Agreements (CDA) are also commonly referred to as Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) and Proprietary Information Agreements (PIA).  These agreements all serve the same purpose, to protect specific information that a party deems confidential from dissemination and to limit the receiving party’s use of that information to a limited purpose.  

If you need a confidentiality agreement, you should request such agreement by providing the Business Development Office with the following information

  • Name of the party with whom you will be in discussions; 
  • the nature of the confidential information that will be shared;  
  • the reason for the exchange of confidential information; and 
  • the name and email address of the individual with whom you have been in contact.

If you receive a confidentiality agreement from another entity, you should forward the agreement to the Business Development Office for review and approval along with the above-noted information.


Material Transfer and Data Use Agreements

Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) and Data Use Agreements (DUA) both are utilized to allow another party to utilize its research materials or data under limited terms and conditions.  Both of these agreements can be considered either INCOMING or OUTGOING; depending on whether NDSU is using another party’s materials/data in its research (incoming) or NDSU is providing its materials/data to another institution for its use (outgoing).

Incoming MTA or DUA.  Typically when another institution is providing NDSU with materials or data to utilize in its research efforts, that institution will provide NDSU with a contract to protect those materials or data.  Upon receipt of an MTA or DUA, you should forward such agreement to the Business Development Office with the following information:

  • What research does NDSU intend to undertake utilizing the materials/data?
  • Is NDSU required to share the results of the research with any other entity?
  • Do you envision that NDSU will publish the results of this research?
  • What is the source of funding for the proposed research?

Outgoing MTA or DUA.  In the event that you need to provide research materials or data to another institution, either for their research or to further your research, you should request an agreement to facilitate the transfer of those materials/data, by providing the Business Development Office with the following information:

  • The name and address of the institution requesting the materials/data;
  • The name and contact information for the individual requesting the materials/data; 
  • A general description of the materials/data, including quantity;
  • The original source of the materials/data, whether from another institution or developed at NDSU; and
  • A description of the activities (SOW) that the institution may carryout utilizing the materials/data and any activities that are specifically prohibited.

Agricultural MTA.  NDSU utilizes MTAs to track incoming and outgoing agricultural varieties and experimental lines.  The above-noted requirements also apply to agricultural materials, with the additional requirement that all outgoing transfers must be approved by NDAES.


Research Collaboration Agreement

Research Collaboration Agreement is primarily utilized when two universities want to collaborate on a research project and they do not have third-party funding to support large research expenses.  This agreement usually details each party’s responsibilities for the project and provides for joint publication of research results.  This type of agreement can also be utilized when the two institutions are seeking preliminary data to apply for joint research funding.

To request a research collaboration agreement, you should send the following information to the Business Development Office:

  • The name and address of the collaborating institution;
  • The name and contact information for the PI with whom you are working; 
  • A statement or work describing the activities that each institution will perform; and
  • The source of funding you will utilize to conduct your share of the research.

Departmental approval for research collaborations is recommended and your department may require that you prepare a sample budget of estimated expenses.


Visiting Researcher Agreement

Visiting Researcher Agreement is necessary when a department engages an individual that is employed or sponsored by another organization to work on the department’s research.  This agreement is especially important if the visiting researcher will be involved in any sponsored research projects. 

When possible, agreements with visiting researchers should be completed prior to the individual’s arrival on campus.  These agreements are usually entered into between NDSU and the employer/sponsor of the visiting researcher, however the individual may be required to sign an Intellectual Property Assignment agreement if they will be involved in any sponsored research projects.

To request an agreement for a visiting researcher, you should provide the following information to the Business Development Office:

  • The name, title and contact information for the visiting researcher;
  • The name and address of the visiting researcher’s employer or sponsor;
  • The dates the visiting researcher will be on NDSU campus;
  • Whether the visiting researcher will be bringing any materials with them for research purposes; and
  • A listing of all of the projects that the visiting researcher will be involved.
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