Industrial Contracts Office
3000 El Camino Real

Building 5, Suite 300
Palo Alto, CA 94306

FOR INDUSTRY – Sponsored Research Agreement Information

Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs) govern funded research agreements at Stanford.  ICO negotiates SRAs when a company provides funding to the University for a specific project and the company expects intellectual property rights or reports from the research.  ICO does not handle clinical trial agreements.  If you are interested in funding a clinical trial, please contact Stanford’s Office of Sponsored Research (OSR).

Template Agreements

Relevant Federal Laws/Regulations and Stanford Policies
A number of federal laws govern University practices and research agreements. In addition, Stanford has internal research policies.  Below are some of the federal laws and regulations and Stanford policies that affect SRAs.

Master Agreements
Master Agreements, sometimes called "blanket" or "umbrella" agreements, are used when a company expects to fund multiple projects with Stanford over a long period of time.  In such cases, we pre-negotiate the legal terms and conditions of the agreement.  When a new project is proposed, the terms of the Master Agreement are incorporated by reference, and only the statement of work/protocol, time period, and budget change.   We currently have master agreements for sponsored research with ABB, Agilent, Airbus S.A.S, Amgen, Aramco Services, BEI Research, Boeing, Calypso, CyberHeart, Chevron, ETC, Daimler Chrysler, Elekta, ENI, Exxon Mobil Exploration , Ford, Genentech, General Electric, General Motors, Gilead, Hewlett-Packard, Hoffmann-LaRoche, Google, L’Oreal, Ingrain, Nodality, Novo Nordisk, Nokia, NTT, Organogenesis, Pharmacyclic, Pfizer, Philips, Quest , Roche, Samsung, Sanofi US Services, SAP, Semiconductor Research Corp., Siemens, SuperSonic, Varian Medical Systems, and Volkswagen of America.


Is the Principal Investigator considered a party to the SRA?

No.  The SRA is between Stanford and the company.  The PI signs only to acknowledge that s/he has read and understands the SRA and agrees to use reasonable efforts to uphold his/her obligations set forth therein.

Is there a minimum amount of funding required to receive intellectual property rights?


Can I get a waiver or a reduction in Stanford’s standard indirect cost rate?

No.  The indirect cost rate is not negotiable.

Can my company own the results of the research?

The University owns intellectual property created under sponsored research projects.  Companies sponsoring research can receive rights to the intellectual property in the form of a limited-term option to a license. See Section 9 of the Sponsored Research Agreement Template.

Can I approve publications resulting from the research?

No.  Stanford is a research and educational institution whose investigators must be able to publish freely.  See Stanford Policy on Openness in Research.  You may review manuscripts before they are publicly disclosed in order to identify your confidential information and to seek protection for inventions disclosed in the publications.
Given that my company is paying for the research, the two answers above do not seem reasonable. Why isn’t sponsored research more like a work for hire?
Under University policy, Stanford takes title to inventions created here.  This is consistent with federal research funding laws. Stanford does not enter into work for hire research agreements.  Any agreement that Stanford enters into must be in line with the university’s missions of teaching and research. 
Can we pre-set license terms in the SRA?
Generally, no. It is very difficult to set license terms for an invention that doesn’t yet exist.  Also, Stanford is a 501(c)(3) organization under the IRS Internal Revenue Code. IRS Regulations say that granting rights to sponsored research intellectual property that doesn’t yet exist is considered a “private business use” of facilities funded with tax-exempt bonds.  Tracking and monitoring funding for campus buildings, which change and expand over the years, is difficult for universities,   
Can I send someone from my company to Stanford to work on a project I am funding?
Yes.  You and your employee will be required to sign the Stanford Patent and Copyright Agreement for Visitors, which provides for joint ownership with Stanford of inventions the employee creates in the course of work here.
Who should I contact if I have questions about an SRA?
Please call us at 650-723-0651, or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!


If you are interested in sponsoring research at Stanford, please contact us at