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FAQs for Sponsored Research Agreements

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What is a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA)?

An SRA is a contract used when a company provides funding to Stanford for a particular researcher or researchers to pursue a specific area of research during a defined timeframe. 

When is an SRA needed?

ICO negotiates sponsored research agreements when a company provides funding to the University for a specific project and seeks rights to license intellectual property or detailed reports from the research.  When a company provides funding without receiving rights in return, this is often a gift.

What approvals are required for the use of special materials in the research project?

Use of certain research materials requires compliance with federal law and Stanford policies. If the material is:

  1. Obtained from a living person: Human Subjects Panel (IRB) approval is required in advance.  PIs must provide ICO with a copy of current IRB approval or exemption.  
  2. Human embryonic/fetal/adult stem cells: Approval form Stanford’s Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) is required in advance. PIs submit their protocols to SCRO for review and approval.
  3. A live animal:  Approval from the Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care (APLAC)  office is required in advance.  PIs must provide ICO with a current APLAC protocol number.
  4. Radiological Hazard (EH&S): Environmental Health & Safety approval is required in advance.  PIs must provide the CRA/SMH number.
  5. Certain rDNA, or infectious or biohazardous material: Biosafety (EH&S) training and approval is required. PIs must provide an APB number, and attach a copy of a map and/or description of the agent requested, and a reference for the agent -- when available, for Biosafety review.

What other information will ICO need?

ICO needs to know if the PI will use funding from other sources to support the project.  This information enables us to avoid conflicts between rights the University may have granted to the other funder and rights granted to the sponsoring company. ICO also needs to know whether any potential or actual conflicts of interest have been reviewed and approved by the University.

Who signs SRAs?

ICO has signature authority to sign SRAs on behalf of the University’s Board of Trustees.  PIs also sign to acknowledge that they understand and will abide by the agreement terms. Once the sponsor also signs, the agreement is fully executed.