Principles & Policies Guide

The University of Texas at Austin is an agency of the State of Texas and a component institution of The University of Texas System, which is governed by the UT Board of Regents. All sponsored activity agreements and related contractual agreements (e.g. nondisclosure agreements, teaming agreements, material transfer agreements, data use agreements, etc.) must be executed by an authorized official of The University and in The University’s legal name: “The University of Texas at Austin.” Individuals, departments, or organized sponsored research units may not directly enter into contractual agreements or otherwise legally bind The University (see UT Austin’s Delegations of Authority).

Selected Principles and Policies Governing Sponsored Activity at The University of Texas at Austin

Routine tasks of a commonplace type that do not contribute to the advancement of knowledge or The University’s mission will not be undertaken. The University will not place its facilities or services in competition with services performed by the private sector. Therefore, tests, studies, and investigations of a purely commercial character are undertaken only when University facilities are unique for those services and no satisfactory facilities for such services exist elsewhere or are not reasonably available to the sponsor.

As a public institution, the University will not conduct proprietary research, develop exclusive or proprietary data for a sponsor, conduct any “work-for-hire”, or permit a sponsor to direct or control research on campus. University facilities and equipment may not be used by a sponsor’s employees or for the specific benefit of a sponsor. The purpose of University research is the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge; the University cannot assume the role of an advocate or a social action agency.

The University retains the right to publish and disseminate all work done under sponsored activity projects and cannot accept or undertake any sponsored project that provides for sponsor approval or undue control over the timing or content of University publications, or which prohibits the publication of the results of the project, except with limited restrictions. Publication delays of a reasonable period are allowed to permit filing of a patent application, to permit review for possible premature disclosure of patent application information and to review for inadvertent disclosure of a sponsor’s confidential information. In all cases, the final decision to publish rests with the University.

The development, ownership, management, use and marketing of intellectual property developed at the University are governed by The Intellectual Property Policy of The University of Texas System (Rule 90101).

Title to inventions and discoveries, including copyrightable software, made or conceived by The University under a sponsored project is retained by The University. The University will grant to the sponsor a time-limited first right to negotiate an exclusive or nonexclusive royalty-bearing license, whose terms will include the requirement that the sponsor shall bear the expense of securing and maintaining patent protection for any licensed invention or discovery. Two exceptions to this policy would be: 1) Federally funded research or sponsored activity which would be governed by appropriate federal regulations regarding data rights and patent rights and 2) Sponsored activity funded by nonprofit organizations, Universities, or State Agencies in which the University would normally grant the sponsor a nonexclusive royalty free license to use such inventions and discoveries for internal purposes only.

As a State of Texas educational institution, The University is unable to enter into “works-for-hire” agreements in which the results of the sponsored activity are owned by the sponsor.

Because research or sponsored activity results are unpredictable, The University performs its sponsored activities on a “best efforts basis” with no stated warranties or guarantees. The University will not accept contract provisions that require a warranty or guarantee of the results, provide for penalties due to failure to make progress by firm deadlines, or provide for withholding of payment if the sponsor is not satisfied with the results. Any resulting contract or agreement is expected to be on a cost reimbursable basis as opposed to fixed price or time and materials/labor hour basis.

It is a long-standing University policy that under no circumstances shall a sponsor be permitted to use its name in any publication or other published announcement to state or imply that The University approves or endorses any product or service of the sponsor. The University also requires that its name not be used in connection with any advertisement, press release, or other form of business promotion or publicity, or refer to a sponsored activity agreement, without its prior written approval.

The University of Texas at Austin is self-insured for Worker’s Compensation Insurance. The University is unable under Texas law to obtain Employer’s Liability, Comprehensive General or Public Liability, and Comprehensive Automobile Insurance. The Texas Tort Claims Act provides for remedies against the State for legal proceedings for claimants in these areas.

The University, to the extent permitted by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, will agree to indemnify the sponsored activity sponsor for The University’s own negligent acts or omissions in the performance of the sponsored activity project. The sponsor will be expected to indemnify The University and The University of Texas System from any liability arising out of the activities carried out pursuant to the obligations of the sponsored program and for the sponsor’s use of the sponsored activity results obtained from the activities performed by The University under the sponsored program.

In the event a funding agreement is terminated for any reason, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse the University for all costs incurred to the date of termination and for all non-cancellable obligations.

As an agency and institution of the State of Texas, The University of Texas at Austin cannot accept a provision that provides that the agreement is governed by the laws of another state.

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