New legal templates to streamline the process of businesses working with universities are to be rolled out across Scotland.
Scotland’s 19 universities have agreed to use the new legal documents, which have been developed by Universities Scotland and Interface, for projects funded through the Scottish Funding Council’s Innovation Vouchers Scheme.
They provide a simple solution for business and university partners to agree legal terms and to clarify the ownership of Intellectual Assets at the outset thereby strengthening working relationships and building trust.
Following approval by all Scottish Universities, the new templates are now available on Interface’s website. The Scottish Funding Council has agreed that these will be adopted as terms and conditions of being awarded a standard Innovation Voucher. A standard Innovation Voucher offers up to £5,000 for a first-time collaboration between businesses and universities, and is matched by the business in cash or kind.
Interface Director, Siobhán Jordan, said: “We are delighted to introduce these standard legal templates, which will not only save time for everyone involved, but will address concerns about sharing and developing ideas. In collaborations between businesses and academics, Intellectual Assets are fundamentally important and these standard templates will introduce much needed clarity for businesses partnering with academia. Each collaboration generates Intellectual Assets and all partners should be clear from the outset about who owns the Intellectual Property and how it will be commercialised.
“We hope that the harmonisation and simplification by Scottish universities will encourage more small-to-medium-sized businesses to think about how they could tap into the rich seam of academic expertise on offer in Scotland.”
Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said: “Scotland’s universities work with 19,000 Scottish businesses every year, helping to develop new ideas for products or processes. We’re keen to grow that number and make it easier than ever for business to innovate with us. Issues around ownership of intellectual property kept on coming up in conversation with business as a potential sticking point so we’ve acted on their feedback and have sought to address these concerns through a new streamlined set of new legal templates. We’d encourage any business with an innovative idea to think of universities as a partner in making it happen. Interface is the place to start.”
Melfort Campbell, Chair Innovation Scotland forum, added: “There are many advantages for companies collaborating with our world-class universities and research institutes and we hope that a one-size-fits-all legal template for projects funded through Innovation Vouchers will make it easier and give peace of mind to companies as they enter collaborations.”