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SRA Process

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Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs) with Industry

Every Industry-sponsored SRA must include a proposed scope of work, detailed budget, and contract. The scope of work and budget are routed for approval using a Proposal Development and Routing Form (PDRF) through the Stanford Electronic Routing and Approval system (SeRA). While many industry contracts do not require a formal proposal, every sponsored research agreement requires an approved PDRF prior to signing. In addition, some agreements require approvals from various compliance offices, such as the IRB, SCRO, APLAC and APB. 

Intake Form Icon

STEP 1: Initiate the Proposal Intake Form (PIF)

School of Medicine 

Contact the appropriate Research Process Manager (RPM) at the Research Management Group (RMG) for assistance completing a PIF and budget.  The RPM will forward the PIF/PDRF, budget, statement of work and other related documents to ICO.

School of Engineering or Independent Labs

Contact the appropriate Research Administrator at Engineering Research Administration (ERA) to assist with completing the PDRF and budget.  ERA will forward the proposal to the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) to review and submit the proposal. OSR will forward the completed PDRF, budget, statement of work and other related documents to ICO.

School of Humanities and Sciences, School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Graduate School of Business, Law School, or School of Education 

Contact the appropriate Contracts Officer at the OSR to assist with completing a PDRF and budget.  The OSR Contract Officer will forward the completed PDRF, budget, and statement of work and other related documents to ICO.


STEP 2: ICO Review

After receiving the proposal and budget, ICO will review the sponsor's contract documents or send a copy of Stanford's template to the sponsor upon request. ICO will contact the PI to ask additional questions about the project, and determine whether other approvals are needed from various compliance offices at Stanford. ICO will then review and mark-up the agreement to ensure conformance with the law, sound business practice, and Stanford policy.


STEP 3: Negotiation

After revising the agreement, the ICO contract officer will send the revisions to the sponsor to initiate negotiations. This process can take from a few days to several months, depending upon the complexity of the agreement and the differences between the sponsor's desired contract and Stanford's policy. Most industry-sponsored agreements require negotiation around ownership and use of intellectual property resulting from the research, liability for research-related injuries and use of the results, and publication. All agreements negotiated by Stanford must comply with Stanford research policies. Any deviation from policy or standard business practice may need to be escalated and discussed with other Stanford offices to assess potential financial risk to the University. This process may also add time to the negotiations.


Step 4: Signature

After an agreement has been fully negotiated and all compliance checks have been completed, ICO contract officers will sign agreements in accordance with their designated signature authority. If a contract officer does not have signature authority, s/he or they will request review and signature from a supervising contract officer with appropriate authority. Stanford prefers to route agreements using an electronic routing system, but ICO will provide wet signatures or PDF signatures if required by the sponsor.


Step 5: Award

Upon receiving a fully-executed agreement, ICO will issue an Award Approval Notification (AAN) through the SeRA system. The AAN triggers the Post-Award group in OSR to set up an account for the project, which allows the Principal Investigator to begin the research. Any expenditures for that project are then charged to the Project Task Award (PTA) that was set up for the project.