Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Working with Business and Industry Sponsors

Sponsored research agreements with for-profit sponsors are negotiated by Engineering Research Services (ERS) for the College of Engineering and the Office for Business & Industry Contracts (OBIC) for the remaining Colleges.  Agreements with these sponsors cover a variety of activities such as basic research, developmental research, collaborative research, or testing services.

Contract negotiations with for-profit sponsors can be difficult and complex. These agreements are designed to address a large number of issues such as scope of work, budget, payment terms, intellectual property rights, confidentiality, publication rights, indemnification and termination rights.

All sponsored research awards are negotiated pursuant to university policies to ensure that activities are consistent with our status as a nonprofit educational institution. As a public entity of the State of Ohio, Ohio State is bound by certain regulations that influence what we can or cannot accept in a legal agreement. For-profit sponsors generally operate under a very different set of priorities from public universities. These priorities occasionally conflict with Ohio State’s policies. As a result, negotiations can take additional time to reach mutually acceptable terms.

Whenever possible, we prefer to use an Ohio State template agreement appropriate for the work to be conducted. These template agreements include the terms and conditions that are consistent with Ohio State policies and are tailored to address the issues unique to the effort being contemplated. The preferred terms and conditions may not be addressed when working from the sponsor’s agreement which can lead to lengthened negotiations.

Principal Investigators should advise the Sponsored Program Officer of the forthcoming project as early in the process as possible. Sponsored Program Officers, Principal Investigators and sponsors will collaborate on project budgeting to ensure both University and projects-specific financial requirements are addressed. The following information should be provided to the Sponsored Program Officer to ensure appropriate terms and conditions are obtained:

  • Provide a copy of the statement of work and advise whether it was created by the sponsor or Ohio State
  • Advise if a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) was complete in collaboration with TCO
  • Advise if existing Ohio State intellectual property or sponsor-owned intellectual property will be used in the project
  • Advise if graduate students will be involved in the project