To help you understand our approach, these are our principles for working with you.
We treat your sensitive information confidentially. A confidentiality agreement or confidentiality clauses are used in most of our contracts.
We set up agreements to cover any work undertaken. This ensures everyone's rights and responsibilities are clear. In most cases contracts are undertaken by the University but we may use our commercial consultancy companies, University of Exeter Consulting Ltd or Peninsula Innovations Ltd depending on the nature of the work. We aim to develop and execute agreements in a timely and efficient manner by using nationally agreed templates tailored to the nature of the work. We are happy to use your agreement templates but negotiating these will take longer.
Exeter research projects include direct project costs (such as salaries, materials etc) plus any indirect costs that a private sector provider of similar services would face (such as maintenance of equipment and facilities, administrative support and the cost of supervising students).
Our approach to IPR is transparent and recognises the commercial imperatives of providing access to, or ownership of IPR to meet your needs.
Normally all parties retain ownership of the ideas that they bring to the project (Background IPR) and we agree on how to exploit new developments that emerge during the project (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 or we will issue you with an exclusive licence to use the IPR. If the project is funded by mixed sources, we aim for fair and reasonable outcomes relating to IPR ownership and exploitation arrangements to respect the rights of other parties. Typically this entails offering you a free, exclusive evaluation licence if you wish to develop the IPR further with a full royalty-bearing license agreed once there is a clearer idea of the market potential. We will also consider fixed-price upfront options on licences – usually set as a percentage of the total research contract price. This gives certainty to everyone.
University academics generally share in the financial success of their inventions and ideas through revenue sharing agreements with the University. This helps align their interests to the successful outcome of the project.
We need to publish the outcomes of research to demonstrate its quality against international competition and to ensure public benefit through access to new knowledge. Publishing as quickly as possible is therefore important to us but we recognise that commercial drivers may restrict that. We will normally agree on a mechanism for making sure that any ideas are protected before they are published, including maximum delay periods. We welcome joint publications with business.
As a charitable teaching and research organisation, we must be able to use our ideas for teaching, research or clinical practice, to work on similar projects with others or to commercially develop the outcomes in other fields. Therefore we usually require a licence back to enable us to use the results or methodologies for these purposes. If this is not possible we will manage the work through University of Exeter Consulting Ltd and the fee will reflect our lack of access to the IPR that we helped develop.
We will carry out work to high standards of excellence and ethical conduct and we reserve the right to decline work which does not match these standards. As a publicly funded, charitable institution, we will not accept unlimited liability for your use of the results nor provide wide-ranging warranties.
Research is about discovery and outcomes are unpredictable, so we cannot guarantee any specific outcome. During the course of a project we may be able to change the specification to take advantage of unexpected results but this can lead to increased costs.
We often need to demonstrate the value of our work with partners through data collection exercises, particularly to show our impact on society. We may ask you to respond to these requests for information and we hope you will agree to do so.