< Previous page ^ Table of Contents Next page >

Report of the General Board on the ownership of intellectual property rights generated by externally funded research

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. In their Joint Report on research services (Reporter, 1999-2000, p. 238) the Council and the General Board described arrangements for the creation of a new division of the University Offices, combining the management of research grants and contracts carried out by the Research Grants and Contracts Section and the arrangements for industrial liaison and exploitation of research results carried out by the Wolfson Industrial Liaison Office. As a result, the new Research Services Division was created on 1 March, 2000, under the management of the Director of Research Services, Dr David Secher.

2. The Joint Report also announced the creation of a committee to advise the General Board on issues relating to research policy, including intellectual property rights, general matters concerning industrial liaison, and consultancies. The Committee has identified, as a priority, the need for clarification of the University's policy on ownership of intellectual property rights arising from externally funded research. In particular, there is a need to simplify existing arrangements, and to ensure uniformity of practice across the University, so as to best serve the interests of the members of staff, Faculties and Departments, and the University. The Committee has accordingly proposed the policy contained in the Annex to this Report, to replace the previous Notice on 'Commercial exploitation of inventions funded by Research Councils' which was published by the General Board in the Reporter on 18 March 1987. The General Board have agreed to commend the revised policy to the University.

3. The 1987 policy was implemented to address the Research Councils' requirements that the University assume the rights and responsibilities relating to the exploitation of inventions arising from research funded by the Research Councils. The new policy reinforces those requirements of the Research Councils and also clarifies the ownership of intellectual property generated in the course of research funded by other external sources, including, but not limited to, charities, industry, the European Union, and UK Government Departments.

4. Under the new procedure for assignments of rights between inventors, the University, and its nominee company, Cambridge University Technical Services Limited, the arrangements for rewarding inventors remain the same, except that the threshold amounts for net income have been revised and will be updated when necessary to take into account inflation and other variable factors.

5. Students who are not employees of the University currently own any intellectual property rights they generate, subject to the terms of any sponsorship agreement governing the terms of the student's studentship or the research with which the student is involved. Students will be required to agree in writing to be bound by the terms of any such agreements.

6. The General Board recommend:

That approval be given for the implementation of the policy on the ownership of intellectual property rights generated by externally funded research as set out in the Annex to this Report.

17 January 2001 ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor KEITH GLOVER PETER LIPTON
  A. J. BADGER MALCOLM GRANT A. C. MINSON
  P. J. BAYLEY J. C. GRAY KATE PRETTY
  N. BULLOCK BRIAN F. G. JOHNSON M. SCHOFIELD

ANNEX

Ownership of intellectual property rights generated by externally funded research

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy:

'Externally Funded Research' means research funded by the Research Councils and all other external sources of research funding including, but not limited to, charities, industry, the European Union, and UK Government Departments but excluding the HEFCE block grant;

'IPR' means all rights arising from intellectual property generated by Externally Funded Research, whether capable of registration or not, the most common forms arising from academic research being patents, know-how, confidential information, and copyright in the form of designs, software, and associated documentation;

'University' means the University of Cambridge or its designated nominee company, currently Cambridge University Technical Services Limited.

Statement of policy

1. IPR generated by Externally Funded Research, except where the University has agreed otherwise, will be owned by the University;

2. The University will not claim ownership of copyright in normal academic forms of publication such as books, articles, lectures, or other similar works generated in the course of Externally Funded Research unless those works have been specifically commissioned by a sponsor;

3. Where revenue is generated by the exploitation of IPR arising from Externally Funded Research, any net benefit received by the University, after deduction of agreed costs, will be shared between the inventor, his or her Department and the University on the following terms, which shall be revised from time to time.

  Inventor Department University
Net income (%) (%) (%)
First £20,000 90 5 5
Next £40,000 70 15 15
Next £40,000 50 25 25
Above £100,000 33.3 33.3 33.3

4. Assistance with applications for grants or contracts with external sponsors or the implementation of the new policy may be obtained from the Research Services Division (e-mail research.services@admin.cam.ac.uk, tel. (3)33543).


< Previous page ^ Table of Contents Next page >

Cambridge University Reporter, 31 January 2001
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.