Contracts for Researchers

Who initiates a sponsored research agreement (SRA)?

  • Preliminary discussions regarding a proposed sponsored project may begin long before a sponsoring partner is ready to establish an SRA. When a sponsor decides to fund research, SRA is required. Upon contact and learning of a sponsor’s interest in working with the University, please contact the Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP). The PI will work through the Scope of Work/Statement of Work with the sponsor, and the actual contract will be negotiated by the Office for Sponsored Programs. The contract and grant specialist assigned to your school will work with you on your budget.

When is SRA Required?

  • If a sponsor is transferring money to the University and the University is performing a service or transferring a deliverable to the sponsor, typically there will be an expectation on the part of the sponsor regarding intellectual property rights (IP) and reports to be delivered by the University. No work may be started prior to executing a sponsored research agreement.
  • If you are approached by a sponsor and the sponsor wants to enter a confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement prior to discussing a project.
  • If you receive a Purchase Order from a sponsor, it must be reviewed by OSP.
  • If you are working on SBIR/STTR proposal.

How are SRA’s processed?

  • When a PI begins discussions with a sponsor, the PI should contact the Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP) contract and grant specialist assigned to their area.
  • The contract will be negotiated by OSP. This may involve a collaborative review by the Office for Compliance and the Office for Tech Transfer.
  • Once the contract has been negotiated, it will be signed by an individual who has been granted signature authority for the University by the Board of Trustees for The University of Alabama.
  • When the contract is signed, the PI and other administration will be notified and the contract will be processed and sent to Contract and Grant Accounting to have the account set up.
  • An internal coordination sheet is required for processing contracts/agreements. *requires Acrobat Reader

What terms are typically included in an SRA?

  • Scope of Work to be conducted, including reporting and other deliverables
  • Budget
  • Payment obligations and timing. In certain situations, payment up front from the Sponsor may be required.
  • Publication of the research results
  • Ownership of intellectual property and options to license the intellectual property developed during the research
  • Protection and care of data and confidential information exchanged during the research
  • Compliance with export control and other laws and regulations
  • Rights and procedures to terminate the project
  • Indemnification, choice of law and other clauses required by states and federal laws as well as University policy

Does UA have a standard SRA template?

  • Yes, please see the contracts template page. A sponsor may agree to use the standard template, or they may have a template they prefer to use. In any case, the template and ultimate agreement must be negotiated by the Office for Sponsored Programs. The University, as an agency of the state of Alabama has certain limitations and constraints regarding the applicability of some contractual terms and conditions.

Can I sign an Agreement between the University and a Sponsor?

  • No. There are a limited number of individuals who have been granted the authority to sign legal contracts/agreements for UA.

Who should I contact at OSP if I have questions?

  • Your contract and grant specialist, 348-5152, or you can contact Lauren Wilson, J.D. at (205) 348-7812,