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Intellectual Property and Commercialization

1.0 Purpose

This policy exists to ensure that there is clear guidance and understanding among SFA Foundation and its partners, consultants, applicants and funded researchers on issues of intellectual property and commercial exploitation. SFA Foundation considers it desirable to encourage, where appropriate, scientifically productive relationships between SFA Foundation-funded researchers and commercial institutions, but also wishes to ensure that the intellectual integrity of its funded researchers and their freedom to carry out curiosity-driven research are not compromised by such relationships.

2.0 Policy Statement

Any entity (institution or individual) in receipt of funding from SFA Foundation must ensure that the terms of the agreement do not compromise its ability, or that of its staff, partners and consultants to adhere to the SFA Foundation conditions with respect to the use and/or publication of data/information coming out of the funding and intellectual property. This include but not limited to:-

  1. Issues of ownership for IP generated during SFA Foundation funded projects;
  2. Commercial exploitation and the role of SFA Foundation in supporting this process;
  3. Co-ownership between SFA Foundation and SFA Foundation funded innovators/researchers.

3.0 Applicant Obligations

  1. The applicant must disclose proprietary information in their full application in order to provide the most comprehensive picture of their proposed research;
  2. Applicants should note that their proposals (and any supplementary information provided) will be made available to staff of SFA Foundation, referees and external advisers for the purposes of peer-review and due diligence.

6.1.1 Issues of Ownership

  1. Commercial agreements may contain clauses which conflict with the SFA Foundation grant conditions, e.g. restricting the grant holder’s ability to publish;
  2. Material transfer agreements may give ownership rights to the provider over SFA Foundation- funded IP or restrict the grant holder’s ability to publish.

6.1.2 Issues of commercial exploitation

  1. SFA Foundation-funded research being used to further develop or exemplify a patent application, thereby adding to the value of the patent
  2. While eligibility may be a main issue in new applications, potential exploitation or breach of IP/exploitation may arise in previously awarded applications.

6.1.3 Co-ownership between SFA Foundation and SFA Foundation funded Innovators/ Researchers

If a patent has been filed on the basis of SFA Foundation-funded research, then SFA Foundation should be informed, as it may be entitled to negotiate a revenue share. If the institution has no firm intention or plan to exploit, then SFA Foundation might be interested in taking it forward.

 6.1.4 Patents pending

Applicants will sometimes indicate that a patent connected with their research is pending, or that they intend to file a patent in relation to the proposed research. Such applicants must indicate, where they have not been clearly requested by SFA Foundation in the grant application that “Applicant wish to or is expected to file a patent in relation to the proposed research’’.

6.3 IP during the Awarding and Implementation Stages

  1. The Programme Manager should indicate to the Grants Officer all agreements concerning IP entered into with a potential grantee during the due diligence stage for inclusion in the award letter’
  2. Any financial expenses that may incurred in the process of developing an IP should have a corresponding budget set aside and held at the SFA Foundation secretariat, unless the grants’ sole purpose is for the development of an IP;
  3. The Programme Manager will continue to monitor potential for IP across the projects through scheduled project reports or unscheduled communication from the projects. Where budgets for the development of IP were not set aside at the beginning of the grant, additional funding or virement can be considered to cover allowable expenses related to IP development.