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In addition to assessing the potential risks of a research partnership and putting appropriate safeguards in place for your research data, it is important to ensure that there is no ambiguity around the ownership and application of the research outcomes.

Collaboration agreements should be in place to ensure that sensitive data and any intellectual assets including intellectual property rights derived from the project are appropriately managed. As a requirement of UKRI funding at University level, particular consideration should be given to potential future commercial outcomes that could benefit society and the economy; including that of the UK.

It is important to consider when it is most appropriate to seek protection for the intellectual property arising from any collaborative project and how to exploit, assign, license or disseminate it to maximise its impact. Intellectual property (IP) is intangible property that is the result of creativity and innovation and which can be owned in a similar way to physical property. In the University context, IP can be viewed as the results and outcomes of research. As with other property, there may be commercial value in IP, which may be realised via various routes including licensing or selling intellectual property rights. Cambridge Enterprise is available from the outset of any new collaboration and can help with questions on how to protect, develop and disseminate the IP in order to maximise the impact of your research. Prior to any collaboration, all partners should formally agree when commercially relevant or sensitive data and/or findings derived from the project can be made publicly available. Interference with your research might limit your ability to publish first or take credit for the resulting intellectual property. Where necessary, it may be appropriate to seek protection for the knowledge asset including any intellectual property prior to its publication or for a high-level version to be published instead.

Colleagues in the Research Operations Office Contracts Team and at Cambridge Enterprise will be able to help by providing information around appropriate steps to take in advance of setting up a partnership.