We promise to carry out work to the highest standard.

Our promise to you

The University of Exeter is an independent charity undertaking research and education for the public good.

Businesses and universities can gain great benefits from working together to create new products and services; generate new insights; and build high performing teams. The University of Exeter provides a range of services to help businesses gain a competitive edge.

Access to University of Exeter expertise, facilities and services is provided by the Innovation, Impact and Business team. We promise to manage our business relationship with you according to the following principles:


We will treat sensitive information confidentially at all stages of discussions. A confidentiality agreement and confidentiality clauses are used in the majority of our contracts.

Setting up agreements

We will set up agreements to cover any work undertaken. This ensures everyone's rights and responsibilities are clear and legal protection is provided for all.

We have a wide range of mechanisms for contracting depending on the situation. To streamline the process we use nationally agreed contract templates tailored to the nature of the work. However, we appreciate you may want to use your own contracts and we may be able to use or adapt these but it is likely to take a bit longer.

In most cases contracts are handled directly through the University but we may decide to use our commercial consultancy companies University of Exeter Consulting Ltd or Peninsula Innovations Ltd depending on the nature of the work.

Delivering outcomes

By its nature, research is about discovery and outcomes are unpredictable. So although we can commit to a course of action in a research project we cannot guarantee any outcome. During the course of a project we may be able to change the specification to take advantage of unexpected results but this may lead to increased costs.

Publishing results

The University and our researchers need to publish the outcomes of their research to demonstrate its quality against international competition and for ensuring public benefit through access to new knowledge. We welcome joint publications with business. There will normally be a straightforward mechanism in a collaboration agreement for making sure that any ideas are protected before they are published, including maximum delay periods. The ability to publish as quickly as possible is very important to us.

Intellectual property rights (IPR)

We recognise that our collaborations may lead to the creation and use of IPR ie, the ideas that the Company and the University bring to the project (Background IP) and the concepts and new developments that emerge as a result of the project (Foreground IP).

Normally all parties retain ownership of Background IP and we agree approaches to exploiting Foreground IP depending on which party is best placed to do so. If you fund the work entirely then you will usually own the IPR.

If the project is funded by mixed sources, we aim for fair and reasonable outcomes relating to IPR ownership and exploitation arrangements. Typically this would entail offering a free, exclusive evaluation licence to our collaborators if they wish to develop the IPR further with a full royalty bearing license agreed once there is a clearer idea of the market potential.

Freedom to use the results for other purposes

As a charitable teaching and research institution, we will usually require permissions back to us to enable us to utilise our ideas for teaching, research or clinical practice and to work with industrial sponsors on other projects and to commercially develop the research outcomes in other fields. Where this is absolutely not possible we will organise the work through University of Exeter Consulting Ltd and the fee will reflect our lack of access to the IPR.

Our academic staff

University academics are employees of the University, however they generally share in the financial success of their inventions through revenue sharing agreements with the University. This helps align their interests to the successful outcome of the project.

Impact evidence

We often need to demonstrate the value of our interventions through exercises such as the national evaluation of the impact of university research or to justify any externally funded projects. You may be required to respond to these requests for information.


We will not accept liability for the use of the results of projects by your organisation. As a publicly funded, charitable institution, we are not in a position to accept unlimited liability or wide-ranging warranties.

It is our policy to carry out work to the highest standard of excellence and ethical conduct. We reserve the right to decline to undertake work which does not match these standards.