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Master Sponsored Research Agreements

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When a sponsor intends to fund multiple research projects at Stanford for an unspecified period of time and for various projects, the parties may enter into a Master Sponsored Research Agreement (Master SRA). Master SRAs can include multiple Stanford PIs or a single Stanford PI.

A Master SRA governs the activities of all projects funded under the agreement. It includes the contractual terms and conditions agreed to by the parties for all Scopes of Work that are signed under the Master SRA. A template Scope of Work and any other project specific information, such as a budget, are attached to the Master SRA as addenda. After a Master SRA is fully executed, any project performed under the Master only requires a detailed scope of work and budget and an incorporation by reference to the Master SRA terms.

The negotiation of a Master SRA can be a lengthy process. The Master SRA must contemplate contractual terms and conditions applicable for a variety of research projects. To initiate a Master SRA, the Stanford researcher or industry collaborator should contact

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How do I find out if Stanford has an existing master agreement?

The Industrial Contracts Office maintains a list of current and past Master SRAs with industry sponsors. Contact to determine if an industry Master SRA is in place between Stanford and the company sponsoring the research.

2. Can I do a clinical trial under an SRA master? or include both research and a clinical trial?

Generally, Clinical Trial Agreements contain different terms and conditions than a Sponsored Research Agreement, particularly in the areas of ownership of intellectual property, liability, and publication. Clinical Trial Agreements with industry sponsors are handled by Stanford's Clinical Research Administration within the Research Management Group. It is preferable to have two separate agreements, rather than a single agreement that covers both types of work. ICO and CRA/RMG will work with investigators to determine the best course of action if a sponsor requests a single agreement for different types of work.

3. Can I do a $0 transaction under a Master SRA?

SRAs usually include budget terms and are initiated as proposals. If a Master SRA exists with a company, the new $0 transaction should be its own separate agreement.

4. Do I need a Master SRA or a single SRA?

Single SRAs are preferred if the sponsor is new to working with Stanford, or the project contains novel circumstances that require exceptions to Stanford's policy or business practices. Master SRAs are useful when a company plans an array of different projects that do not require exceptions to Stanford policy.

5. Can the terms of the Master SRA be changed?

Each Scope of Work developed under a master is a new contract. The parties can agree to amend the terms for one or more projects if the terms no longer fit the circumstances. These new terms would then be incorporated into the SOW and would apply only to that project.

In some cases, ICO may need to amend the Master SRA if either party's policy or applicable regulations change. In that case, the amendment would apply to all projects after the amendment has been signed by both parties.