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External Partner Engagement

IAA Technology Fund projects benefit from engagement with users or external partners as this increases the chance of realising and/or creating impact, and all IAA Technology or Partnerships or Doctoral Impact projects always require at least one external partner.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the MPLS Innovation and Business Partnerships team or the MSD Business Development team, for guidance and support that may be needed to identify, engage or select relevant industry partner(s).

External partners may be end-users of the technology/knowledge, manufacturing companies, government agencies, or charities and third sector organisations, amongst others. Projects may benefit from involvement with more than one partner, and partner engagement can vary from merely advisory to co-development of outputs, whichever is more beneficial for the project. For example, engaging a manufacturing company to enable development of the technology to take manufacturing processes into consideration, and an end user partner to ensure the technology is what end users need/want; thus, ensuring that thought has been given to the full translational pathway.

Where applicants have chosen not to engage an external partner for their IAA Technology Fund project, applicants must contact the IAA before submitting an application; it should also be made clear in the application why this is an exception, and why there would be no added value from doing so. Where projects do have an external partner, it should be clear why the partner is not paying for the project and what they will contribute.

Where the partner is an existing or prospective spinout, there must be a strong and clear case that the proposed project is a new stream of work and not additional development of the initial technology that was licenced to the spinout. It should also be clear that the spinout is the most appropriate company to support this particular project. A clear statement of how conflict of interest will be managed must be included with your application. Applicants can expect the assessment panels to give additional scrutiny to IAA projects that involve University spinout companies.

Management of intellectual property

Applicants should not refrain from working with external partners solely due to fears around protection of the IP; all the necessary contractual arrangements can and will be put in place to ensure that IP is appropriately protected. This may include confidentiality agreements for pre- and post-application discussions, collaboration agreements or secondment agreements, amongst others. The terms of any IP agreement will take into consideration the funding, the work being carried out by the parties and any relevant background IP introduced, and will always be in line with the University’s approach to IP.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant Technology Transfer Manager at OUI (if applicable) at the earliest possible stage, to discuss the proposed project and the intellectual property management plan.