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

19 March 2001

The Council have considered the remarks made at the Discussion of this Report on 13 February 2001 (p. 486) and have invited the comments of the General Board, who have responded as follows:

The General Board are pleased to note that most of the speakers welcomed the proposals of the Report and the opportunity for discussion. The Board emphasize that the purpose of the Report is not to introduce any radical changes to the ownership of results of externally funded research, but rather to clarify the existing requirements, as previously published in the 1987 Notice. The General Board intend to continue the discussion on intellectual property matters further through the Research Policy Committee and will consult the Regent House about substantive matters of policy. The Research Policy Committee have taken note of practice elsewhere, including Oxford to which Dr Evans drew attention, and will continue to do so.

Professor Edwards asked about publication of the policy in Statutes and Ordinances. The General Board intend to consolidate the recommendations of this Report, if approved, and any future report on intellectual property rights policy, for inclusion as a statement of policy in Statutes and Ordinances.

Ms Worthington expressed concern about the effect of the Report on the ownership of intellectual property rights generated by students. The General Board do not intend to restrict students' intellectual property rights, but rather to protect the interests of students and to make them aware, at an early stage, of the existence of externally funded research contracts that may impact on their rights. The Research Services Division and the Board of Graduate Studies are currently in discussion to ensure that candidates for admission as Graduate Students in the University are fully informed of the intellectual property arrangements before embarking on research projects.

Dr Mycroft raised the issue of copyright. There is no intention in this proposal to change policy on copyright, but simply to state the existing arrangements whereby the University does not claim ownership of copyright in normal forms of publication. The Board regret that their consideration of the report of the Joint Working Party on Copyright, to which Mr Stibbs referred, has been delayed because of the lack of resources. However, the Board are now considering the appropriate actions in response to the recommendations in the Joint Working Party's report. The Council and the Board take this opportunity to inform the University that the appointment of a Copyright Officer, to be located within the Research Services Division, will be made in the near future.

The Council are submitting a Grace (Grace 6, p. 574) for the approval of the Report's recommendations.


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Cambridge University Reporter, 21 March 2001
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