Collaborator Guide

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C O L L A B O R AT O R GUIDE An easy-to-read guide to help you start your first research collaboration with business

WHY D O W E C O L L A B ORAT E WITH B U SINE S S? We collaborate with business to translate research into new products, services and processes. Through these collaborations we can apply academic research and knowledge to real life problems; meet global challenges; transform lives; and make long term contributions to the local, national and global economy.




Help researchers identify and engage with external business partners


Support ongoing collaborations to ensure the outcomes meet the expectations of all parties


Support external businesses to engage with our researchers


Help researchers understand the University’s policies that govern how we interact with businesses


Help researchers and businesses access funds to develop ideas that lead to innovation


Help researchers understand the different University professional service teams that are in place to create successful collaborations with business


GLO SSARY BUSINESS PARTNER A company which is engaged with the University in some capacity. For example, collaborating on research, or licensing our IP, or sponsoring a studentship. BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAMMES TEAM Part of Innovation Strategy, this team helps researchers find SMEs to collaborate with and access funding. Ask them any/all questions about collaborating at the University of Surrey. COLLABORATOR A University of Surrey researcher who is working with a business partner in some capacity. INNOVATION STRATEGY A professional services directorate within the University whose primary responsibilities are to help researchers collaborate with business, create income for the University and help create a positive impact in society.


INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS TEAM Part of Innovation Strategy, this team manages major pan-University industry partnerships. Helpful when some collaborations become overly complicated and burdensome for researchers to manage on their own. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Intellectual property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property. The most well-known types are copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. THE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OFFICE Part of Innovation Strategy, this team licenses intellectual property to businesses and can fund collaborative research. RESEARCH AND INNOVATION SERVICES (RIS) A professional services directorate within the University whose primary responsibility is to manage risks to the University (be they legal, ethical, financial, or otherwise).





HE L P ING YOU AT EV E RY STEP I N T H E JOURNEY Informal agreements

IP negotiations

Formalising your collaboration


Starting a collaboration Identifying ways to collaborate

Managing your collaboration

Growing your collaboration 7

START I N G A CO L L A B O RAT I O N Collaborations with business give an applied focus to University research activities. Their input can help reduce the time it takes to create impact on society from our research work, and often de-risks future commercial activities. Sometimes funders require businesses to collaborate in the research alongside the University. The creation of strong business partnerships helps the University of Surrey maintain its position as a world-leading research and innovation institute.

INNOVATION STRATEGY CAN HELP YOU Talk to a member of Innovation Strategy as soon as you begin thinking about initiating a collaboration with a business partner. They are on hand to answer any questions you may have about collaborating and will help connect you to other experts within the University’s professional service teams that you may need to work with.


W H Y D O OT H E R S CO L L A B O R AT E W I TH U S ? COLLABORATING WITH THE UNIVERSITY CAN HELP A BUSINESS SOLVE REAL WORLD PROBLEMS The business partner benefits via access to world leading researchers, state-of-the-art facilities, a large pool of potential future employees, and opportunities to license technology that can help them create new products and services. COLLABORATING WITH THE UNIVERSITY CAN HELP A BUSINESS IMPROVE INTERNALLY Our researchers can help improve a business’s own operations. For example, they can bring new innovative thinking to existing processes, governance or marketing activities. This can make the business partner more competitive or productive by improving how they produce and sell products and services.

COLLABORATING WITH THE UNIVERSITY ENABLES THE BUSINESS TO BE TAX EFFICIENT UK businesses may be able to receive a financial benefit through claiming Tax R&D credits and reduce their Corporation Tax via ‘Patent Box’ and also by making charitable tax-deductible “gifts” to the University. COLLABORATING WITH THE UNIVERSITY GIVES THE BUSINESS A COMPETITIVE EDGE InnovateUK have presented research that shows that businesses who collaborate with universities gain an important advantage over their rivals who do not. In the world of business any kind of competitive edge is important.


WH AT MAK E S A G OOD CO L L AB O R AT I O N ? A successful collaboration requires a collaborative mind-set, together with a shared vision and value proposition. Good collaborations are based on aligned interest, trust, productivity and dare we say it: friendship. The hallmark of a successful collaboration is that it lives on beyond a single project and evolves into a series of engagements over years that deliver real value to both the University and the business we are collaborating with. If we think about what is important to a University then we start to think about educating the next generation of workers or creating a positive impact in society. We cannot do this on our own. We need help from businesses. They are the conduit through which our students gain employment and the inventions we create are made available to the world. Even the largest business collaborations start with a conversation.



AT IDEA STAGE If you have an idea for a new area of research, or invention, which you think would benefit greatly from the involvement of business from the outset.

WHEN YOU ARE APPLYING FOR FUNDING When you are building or participating in a bid for funding that needs a consortium to be implemented. You may have already identified a funding call to apply to but the application requires a business partner.

IF YOU HAVE TECHNOLOGY A BUSINESS PARTNER COULD USE If you have developed in the past a technology or invention that you think could be used by a company to create a new product or service.


W HAT ’ S A COL L A BO R AT IO N EXP LO R E R S E S S I O N ? The Innovation Strategy team has a “collaboration explorer” session that can help you identify the right type of business partners. In one session we can map out what problems your research solves, which companies may have those problems, which industry sectors would find your research attractive, and what size of company is best suited to a collaboration with you. The output of this session will help focus your thinking on what types of companies should be most interested in collaborating with you. We can also identify sources of funding which can pay for the collaboration. Innovate UK, for example, directly fund collaborations between companies and universities. Email to book your session.


ID E N T IF Y IN G WAYS TO C OL L A B O R AT E THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO COLLABORATE WITH A BUSINESS ON RESEARCH & INNOVATION RELATED ACTIVITY. Some are easy to set-up, simple to execute, and are a great first place to start.



C O NS U LT I N G H AS M A N Y BE N E F ITS Consulting is a way for a business partner to benefit from your knowledge and experience. It’s a form of knowledge exchange in which you receive recognition for your expertise, strengthen your and the University’s reputation, provide opportunities for your PhD students and postdocs and benefit from being paid for your time spent on the consultancy project. All intellectual property arising from the consulting project is usually owned by the partner. The business partner pays an agreed rate to the University for your time. You then spend that time helping the company with the defined task they need support with. The University helps researchers with consulting projects by negotiating the rate at which you are billed to the business partner and also by managing the invoice and financial process.


S E T TIN G UP BU SIN ESS SPONSORE D ST UDENTSHIPS Sponsoring a student is an excellent way of starting a collaboration with a business. Typically, the University requires that students assign (or give) the intellectual property (IP) arising from their studentship to the University to manage on their behalf. This allows the University’s professional service teams (like the Technology Transfer Office) to ensure the student’s rights and interests are protected. When a business sponsors a studentship (either partly or in the whole) then the business may claim ownership over the arising intellectual property (either partly or in the whole). This is acceptable to the University as long as the business is paying an appropriate sum of money for the sponsorship and the student is supportive also. The University is happy to negotiate with the business on the terms of the sponsorship but will always prioritise the interests of the student in this situation. Students should be made aware that the University of Surrey is willing to share with them any income received from the commercial exploitation of the intellectual property created via their studentship (as per our IP Code). But that many businesses do not have a similar type of ”revenue sharing” policy. Meaning that if a studentship is sponsored by a business then the University may not own the IP arising from their studies and so not be able to receive or share any associated income with them. Students need to be comfortable with this arrangement.


B USI N E S S CAN E N T I RE LY FU N D YOUR RE S E AR C H A business can directly commission the University to undertake research on its behalf. The business may wish to access your expertise and fund your research to help them to improve their products, processes or services for example. Support is available to help you discuss and scope the potential research project with your business partner, generate the costings, and once agreed with the partner, draft a contract. Key questions for you to consider include: What is the problem or challenge the business is looking to address? What is the timeframe? What background IP will be required? What are the expected outputs? Contract research is likely to involve commercially-sensitive information. As the business is likely to be paying all the direct costs to the University, they would typically expect to own any arising IP that is developed.


W H AT A R E KNOW L E D G E TR A NS F E R PA RT NER S H I P S ? The Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme (KTP) is an Innovate UK scheme which helps UK businesses to innovate and grow. It does this by linking a company with a university and a recent graduate, called a KTP Associate. A KTP project can last between 12 and 36 months. KTPs are a valuable source of academics’ research income, may lead to REF impact case studies and enhance your research profile. On average, academics develop three new research projects and produce two research papers per KTP project. The Programme is open for applications all year round. KTPs are part-funded by Innovate UK, other government co-funders (such as AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC and STFC) and the participating business.


W H AT A RE I MPAC T ACC EL E R AT I O N ACC OU N TS ? Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA) are strategic awards provided to institutions to support knowledge exchange and impact from their funded research. IAAs allow us to help academics create impact in flexible, responsive and creative ways. The common theme is that the activity must contribute towards the creation of impact in society based on the original funded research. Some examples of IAA funded activities which you could apply for include: Funding the costs of consumables and people in your lab involved in supporting an external company (as they work with your invention or other intellectual property) Funding a placement for a researcher with a business partner Funding a trip to visit a business to build a relationship, or research an impact creating opportunity Funding a member of your department allowing them to focus on commercialisation activities The University of Surrey has a range of IAAs from several different research councils including EPSRC, ESRC, MRC and STFC.


WH AT A R E P R O GR A MM E F UN D E D COL L A BO R AT IO N S ? The Enterprise Programmes team manage a suite of Programmes to help you collaborate with business, with a particular focus on SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). Our Programmes change over time; below is an overview of some Programmes on offer: SME INNOVATION VOUCHERS - fully funded vouchers to initiate a new collaboration with an SME to help them innovate and grow. Projects may explore specific challenges, involve a feasibility study or proof-of-concept, test new products or introduce new processes, which can only be addressed with the help of your expert know-how and may include the use of specialist facilities. Projects may explore specific challenges, involve a feasibility study or proof-of-concept, test new products or introduce new processes, all designed to help the SME innovate and grow. Each voucher fully covers the cost of the services provided by the University at a typical value of £5-10K. SPRINT – a partnership of top space universities, the programme provides funding of up to £100k for collaborative projects between an SME and SPRINT University partner to enable exploitation of space technologies and data in a wide range of commercial activities. SCALE-UP PROGRAMME – helps SMEs to engage with the SETsquared Universities. The programme invites consortia of SMEs and researchers to apply for funding to help develop collaborative R&D bids.


C R EATI NG A N I N F OR MAL AGR E E M EN T It’s natural for you and your business partner to informally discuss the scope and extent of your future collaborations. This is an important part of building trust, rapport and motivation to proceed into a formal collaboration. Inevitably the conversation will turn to money, ownership and possible confidential information. This section provides some tips and advice for how to manage these important early discussions.


DO I NEED TO S I G N AN N DA ? NDA stands for non-disclosure agreement. An NDA is an important legal document that enables you and your business partner to discuss matters that ordinarily you may not want to disclose to 3rd parties (and vice versa). The University will want you to use our own NDA template with a partner. Ordinarily the first couple of discussions with a partner will not require an NDA. However, you should put an NDA in place if the partner wants to discuss the following:








W H AT I S A H EA DS O F T E R MS DOCUMENT? A Heads of Terms (HOT) document is typically a one-page summary of the key agreement points of a collaboration. It’s an informal document and something Innovation Strategy would always recommend you and your partner work on together. Here’s a list of things a HoT normally contains: Title, names of the collaborators, start/end date and background info The aims and objectives of the collaboration Under what circumstances the collaboration could be terminated early Who is paying, for what, and when Who owns the arising intellectual property, and if any rights are required on pre-existing background intellectual property Out of scope: what is not included in the collaboration


M A N AG I N G IP N E G OT IAT ION S WA R N IN G ! The University strongly recommends you discuss Intellectual Property matters BEFORE your partnership with business begins. It is extremely difficult, and time consuming, to establish ownership of Intellectual Property after a collaboration has started. The University has standard legal contracts, with standard IP terms, which can be used to fast-track legal agreements with partners.


W H Y IS TAL K ING A BOUT OW NE RSHIP O F INTELLECTUAL PR OPERTY W IT H A B U SIN ESS IMPORTA NT ? Rights to the arising intellectual property from a collaboration is very often one of the main motivations for a business to collaborate with a University. A business want to own IP because they don’t want any complications in the future if the IP is going to be used in a commercial product. ”Freedom to operate” means that a business can operate without having to strike an additional license with a rights-holder or pay ongoing royalties to access IP. But sometimes it’s not appropriate for a business to own the IP arising from a collaboration with a University. Sometimes IP ownership may have to be shared, or even owned by the University and licensed out to the business. In our opinion, the earlier you start to talk about intellectual property ownership the better it is for all parties.


SO M E I P F U NDA M E N TA L S Broadly speaking the organisation which is paying for the work to be done can own the intellectual property arising from the work. A business paying for consultancy will own the new intellectual property created in the consulting project. A business paying for research will own all the new intellectual property created in the research work if they pay for all the project costs at a fair market price. However, if the business is not paying for all the project costs then its not reasonable for them to own the intellectual property arising from the project. Neither would it be reasonable to allow the business to have ownership, or free access to, any additional intellectual property owned by the University. In these situations the University may jointly own the intellectual property or grant the business a license to access the intellectual property. The University will always wish to retain a licence for education purposes on the intellectual property that its staff create. The University also prefers to retain the ability to academically publish results and publicise the impact of the collaboration. Retaining these rights helps keep the collaboration aligned to the University’s charitable purpose of education and dissemination of information.


T HE U NIV E RS I T Y ’ S IN I T I A L P O S IT IO N To help researchers navigate the complex environment of intellectual property, the University has developed a number of pre-defined initial positions with regards to IP and commercial partners.

Example 1 Collaborative research with academia A collaboration between multiple Universities, based on established University-owned background IP Initial position: Each party owns the IP created by its employees/ students. IP ownership may be shared if it was jointly created. Collaborator(s) granted access to any University-owned background IP on commercial terms.

Example 3 Short impactful collaboration A collaboration, funded through a specific public funded scheme and state aid compliant. Designed to create ‘impact’ based on established Universityowned background IP. Initial position: Business owns the foreground IP, University granted educational license & right to publish. Business granted access to University-owned background IP on commercial terms.


Example 2 Contract research part-funded by business A collaboration part-funded by the business, based on established University-owned background IP Initial position: University owns the foreground IP and is responsible for protecting that IP. Business granted a nonexclusive license to foreground IP, and access to University-owned background IP on commercial terms, with some constraints on when academic papers can be published.

Example 4 Contract research fully funded by business A collaboration fully funded by the business at fEC rates, based on established University-owned background IP Initial position: Business owns the foreground IP. Business granted access to University-owned background IP on commercial terms, with some constraints on when academic papers can be published.

WA R N I N G ! If you choose not to adopt one the University’s initial positions with regards to managing IP in business collaborations, and choose to embark on a ‘bespoke negotiation’, then you risk significantly lengthening the time required to produce legal contracts and possible delays to the start of your collaboration.


FO R M A L I S I N G YO U R C O L L A BO RAT IO N Once you believe that your discussions with a business are progressing well, and that you have reached a consensus on important issues such as funding and ownership of intellectual property, then you are approaching the point where the prospective collaboration should be formalised. Formalisation will require input from the following Research and Innovation Services (RIS) teams:

LEGAL CONTRACTS RESEARCH INTEGRITY AND GOVERNANCE OFFICE RESEARCH PRE-AWARD The Innovation Strategy team can help introduce you to these experts and support the necessary discussions between our researchers, external businesses and the University.


L E GA L C O NT R AC TS WHAT DO LEGAL CONTRACTS DO? The legal team handle upwards of 1,000 legal matters a year across the University. They review, draft and negotiate contractual terms of all agreements for facilitating research. They also support the creation of other non-research legal agreements, advise on contractual disputes and ensure the University is compliant with regards to national and international law. WHAT IS LEGAL CONTRACT’S RESPONSIBILITY? The University’s legal expert’s primary responsibility is to manage risk (through the instruments of legal agreements). This responsibility extends to: Ensuring that agreements are within the law Protecting the individual academic Protecting the University Ensuring the University’s policies are being upheld Maximising potential Ensuring the University gets a good deal If you are working with the Research Pre-Award or Research Integrity and Governance Office or Innovation Strategy then these teams will automatically contact Legal Contracts if you need legal assistance.


RE SEAR C H INTEG RI T Y A N D GOVER N A N CE OF F IC E WHAT DOES RIGO DO? The University of Surrey resolves to be an honest and ethical institution in the way in which it conducts its business and discharges its responsibilities. The University is committed to maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research. The RIGO office is a dedicated team put in place to ensure we meet these obligations. WHAT IS RIGO’S RESPONSIBILITY? Ensure the core elements of Research Integrity are upheld: Honesty Rigour Transparency Care and respect All researchers should familiarise themselves with the University’s Code on Good Research Practice which provides full details on the obligations we ask of Researchers. Some research projects may require approval from the University’s Ethics Committee. It is strongly recommended that researchers contact RIGO if their collaboration involves experimentation on Animals, requires access to Human Tissue, or is linked to the defence industry.


RESEARC H PR E-AWA RD WHAT DOES RESEARCH PRE-AWARD DO? The Research Pre-Award team cost (e.g. put a price on) the contribution the University is making to a research project. They also calculate the cost or price that an external partner should pay the University to hire our facilities and our experts. WHAT IS RESEARCH PRE-AWARD’S RESPONSIBILITY? Research Pre-Award’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the University is giving access to our resources (human and facilities) at the correct price. They are also the custodians of the University’s Consultancy Services policy. Key responsibilities include: Ensuring that the University is pricing its resources appropriately Facilitating the creation of consultancy agreements between the University and external businesses Ensuring that our researchers receive the benefit of any consulting activity they undertake either directly into their monthly pay, or into an individual research account which they can then access to fund further research. Ensuring the Consultancy Services policy is upheld Ensuring the correct approvals are in place


M ANAGING YOUR COLLABOR ATI ON Congratulations! You are now participating in a collaboration with a business partner. A successful collaboration needs good project management and good relationship management. Innovation Strategy can help you with these responsibilities.


UN DERSTA NDING T HE IMPORTANCE OF PO ST-AWARD AC TIVITIES Following the successful award of your collaboration there is a lot of work to be undertaken to successfully set-up and manage your project. Thinking about these activities and building the time and resources into your funding application and project plan will help your project to run smoothly. RECRUITMENT. Time should be allowed to seek approval for, advertise and recruit any new posts. PROJECT MANAGEMENT. The governance of the project, roles and responsibilities, should be clear, and time and resource should be provided for project management and administration to ensure the project stays on target to deliver its objectives. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT. Understanding the requirements, such as regular submission of timesheets and expenses will help you keep track of your project finances. CASE STUDIES. Think about and start to develop impact case-studies throughout your project in preparation for REF and KEF submissions.


WHO CAN HELP ME WITH PO ST-AWA RD ACTIVITIES ? If you have funded your collaboration via the Enterprise Programmes team then they will support you with: Negotiating and signing the Collaboration Agreement Recruitment Financial monitoring, management and claims submission Ensuring delivery and reporting to the funding body criteria Relationship management and identification of future collaboration opportunities The RIS Programme Management team support larger strategic collaborative programmes. To access this support it is important to engage the team early in your programme scoping and application drafting discussions so that you can include their cost and time in your proposal. The Programme Management team can support you with: Day to day administrative management of your programme Coordination of your programme partners Monitoring and tracking your programme activity Financial monitoring, management and claims submission Ensuring delivery and reporting to the funding body criteria Management of the audit process Management of the programme closure process


G R OW I N G YOU R COL L AB OR AT I O N The mark of a successful collaboration is that both parties want to continue working together on the next project. It should be natural to discuss the next phase of a stream of research if the first phase was a success for both the university and the external partner. There are many ways to strengthen and broaden a collaboration. We’ve listed some on the next few pages for you to think about.


COLLAB ORAT ION IDEAS Partnering in Research Applications

Employing graduates and alumni (Surrey Pathway)

Corporate donations to the University (philanthropic gifts)

Mentoring postgraduates and early career researchers

Sponsoring studentships

Licensing a University technology

Co-authoring publications or patents

Collaborating in an impact acceleration research

Sponsor a University event, or hold your company event on campus

Asking the University to test new products in our Living Lab

Hiring an academic for a consulting project

Corporate venturing & seed investment into a University spin-out company

Renting office space on our Research park


WHEN DOE S A BUSIN E S S COLLAB ORAT ION BECOME A N I ND UST RY PARTNE RSH I P ? Innovation Strategy’s industry partnerships team’s mission is to identify, create and sustain large scale industry collaborations (often involving multiple other universities and government organisations) which ordinarily could not be instigated and maintained by a single academic or department. If a collaboration is growing in scale and complexity then at some point in time it will become too great a burden on an academic individual who has other teaching and research responsibilities. This is when the industry partnerships team can help by becoming the point of contact or account manager for major collaborations.


TOP TIPS… NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK Once you have something to talk about (and you won’t damage any confidentiality agreements or hinder any patent applications) then its important you get out there and tell people about what you are working on. Attend conferences, write articles online and build a profile on LinkedIn. DO A LITTLE MARKET RESEARCH If you want to make a positive first impression with a prospective collaborator then do a little research on them first. Find out what they have been promoting about themselves online or in the trade press. ”Like” their posts on LinkedIn. FIND THE MUTUAL BENEFITS Download and read prospective collaborator’s annual report. Understand what they are trying to achieve and how you can help them with that mission. Identify areas of your work you think they may be interested in. Do they have an Innovation Team? That could be a good team to contact first. BE PREPARED TO INVEST TIME INTO THE PARTNERSHIP Building up a successful working relationship with a company takes time. Damaging a relationship only takes one wrong move. You have time. Focus on the relationship. Over time a good relationship will grow and develop naturally. You don’t have to force it.


… FOR SUCCE SS BE RESPONSIVE TO BUSINESS DEMANDS Being flexible and responsive to a partner’s demands does not necessarily mean you have to compromise your research or teaching responsibilities. Find a way to manage the relationship in parallel with your other priorities. Any partnership with business will involve agreeing to a produce certain outputs by certain dates. BE SELECTIVE ABOUT WHO YOU COLLABORATE WITH Do not just collaborate for the sake of collaborating. Do not be afraid to decline an invitation to collaborate if you cannot see a clear advantage or benefit from doing so. BE OPEN MINDED & POSITIVE Engaging with a new organisation can be both stimulating and refreshing. The partnership may lead down new avenues to new areas of research or even new places in the world. It only takes a few minutes of your time to hold an introductory phone call with a potential collaborator. Go into each meeting with an open mind and a positive attitude. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP The University of Surrey wants to help you build strong partnerships with business collaborators. We value their input and truly believe that working with business is a central aspect of our wider mission to make a positive impact in society. We have teams of people in Innovation Strategy who will be pleased to guide, support and help you every step of the way.




If you need a business partner to proceed with your research project If you have been approached by a private company who is interested in your research, or wants to hire you as a consultant If you want funding to support a collaboration If you want help informally negotiating a collaboration If you are ready to put a formal agreement in place. We can help introduce you to other University expert teams who can help. If you would like someone to visit your Department and present a seminar on collaboration


Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.

– Thomas J. Watson, American businessman, CEO of IBM 1914 - 1956

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

– Charles Caleb Cotton

This guide was inspired by the ‘INVENTOR GUIDE’ published by the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Portugal