4e. Working with industry

  1. Whom do I contact for assistance?
  2. What is a Research Contract?
  3. Where are Research Contracts with Industry reviewed and signed?
  4. What authority does my signature have?  
  5. What aspects of the contract am I expected to negotiate?
  6. What F&A rate should be charged for Industry Agreements? 
  7. What should I expect during the contracting process? 
  8. How do all those legal terms impact my research? (Common differences between Federal and Industry contracts)

1.  Who do I contact for assistance?

For contracts reviewed by DSP, feel free to call 319-335-2123 or email dsp-contracts@uiowa.edu for general assistance.  If you need to reach the Contracts Administrator assigned to your department, please consult this listing

2.  What is a Research Contract?

A research contract is a legal document detailing the obligations of two or more parties over the course of a research project. It usually has specific deliverables and milestones to be met and dictates how the contracting parties will interact with each other. Contracts may be called by a variety of names – agreement, purchase order, subaward, memorandum of understanding, letter agreement – however, if the content of the document includes specific terms and conditions governing the performance of research, it is considered by the University of Iowa to be a research contract.

3.  Where are Research Contracts with industry reviewed and signed?

The UI has delegated to the Division of Sponsored Programs the authority to review, negotiate, and accept the terms and conditions of contracts relating to research (although other offices have this authority for certain types of agreements that may also relate to research activities, such as Purchasing).  Types of agreements and corresponding offices are listed in this table

4.  What authority does my signature have?  

All documents that obligate University personnel, facilities, intellectual property, or other resources in any way require an authorized UI signature.  This ensures appropriate policies, procedures and legal requirements have been addressed.   The University of Iowa, rather than the UI project director, is considered the contracting party in relation to formal agreements. This means all contracts must be reviewed and accepted by the institution rather than the individual project director. Since you do not have authority to sign on behalf of the UI, any personal signature on a contract exposes you to personal liability.

5.  What aspects of the contract am I expected to negotiate?

  • Statement of Work (SOW) or protocol: As the subject matter expert, you are in the best position to know what work can and should be included in the project.  Your familiarity with your resources and staff will guide you as you set specific project milestones.
  • Budget: As PI, you should have a general idea how much it will cost to perform the project, including staff salary and fringe, appropriate F&A costs, materials and equipment needed.  Your careful planning will ensure that the funds provided in the contract will cover these costs.  If you have questions about the appropriate F&A rate or fringe rate to include in your budget, please don’t hesitate to contact DSP (dsp@uiowa.edu; 319-335-2123).

6.  What F&A rate should be charged for Industry Agreements?

University of Iowa proposals to industry are expected to include the University’s full costs of doing research, including the appropriate Facilities and Administrative (“F&A”) or overhead costs.  The current F&A rate information is located here.

When submitting proposal budgets to industry it might be helpful to present your budget using fully-burdened rates for the University’s direct costs.    You can find more information along with a sample budget worksheet here.

7.  What should I expect during the contracting process?

Contracts that are negotiated and signed by DSP must be routed to the DSP .  Be sure to include the agreement (if provided by sponsor), statement of work or protocol, and budget.  Additional documents may be required based on the nature of the project or contract terms.  Consult the Contract Guidelines page for more information.

8.  How do the agreement terms impact my research? 

Terms on sponsored research agreements potentially can impact any aspect of your work.  A few examples include the record retention period; requests for compliance with corporate research standards that may differ from  general University standards;  restrictions on publications or requests for intellectual property ownership that conflict with University policy.  DSP can help you determine whether these terms are acceptable in accordance with University of Iowa policies and procedures, and DSP can help to negotiate terms that are acceptable and appropriate for your project.