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Collaboration research receives boost

The UK government has launched an initiative to help universities and businesses work together more effectively.

The UK government has launched an initiative to help universities and businesses work together more effectively.

The initiative, called the Lambert Model Agreements Toolkit, is part of the UK government's efforts to strengthen collaboration between universities and the business community.

Drawn up by the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry with the help of UK companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Rolls-Royce, the toolkit includes five model agreements which will aim to ìhelp take the hassleî out of negotiating collaborative research agreements.

ìThe idea of the model agreements is to simplify negotiations, save time and effort, identify key issues and provide examples of best practice,î said Richard Lambert, author of a 2003 review into business-university collaboration which recommended that a set of model agreements be drawn up to assist universities and industry to collaborate more effectively.

He added: ìWe found that the cost and complexity of negotiations over IP could be a real barrier to collaboration - even for experienced players. For small and medium-sized companies, and for the less research-intensive universities, IP issues could turn into an insurmountable hurdle.î

The model agreements, the Department of Trade and Industry said, provide a ìdifferent approach in the key area of who is to own, and have the right to exploit, the intellectual property in the results or outcome of the collaborative projectî.

They include terms such as whether a sponsor may negotiate further licence to some or all of a university's intellectual property or whether the university has a right to use the results for non-commercial purposes.

Decision guides to help users choose which of the five agreements are the best for their collaboration are also provided.

Science minister, Lord Sainsbury, added: ìUsing examples of best practice, these model agreements will allow potential business and university collaborators to identify the essential elements for successful and effective agreements - smoothing the path between ground-breaking research and innovative products.î

ìThe interaction between universities and business is stronger than it ever has been and these voluntary new products should help its further development. Collaborative working is essential if the UK is to compete in the new global economy on the basis of innovation.î

30th September 2008

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