Negotiation Issues

New Awards

Awards are made to Georgetown University for a particular faculty member's project. Awards are typically issued as grants, contracts or cooperative agreements but may take other forms such as purchase orders, Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreements (IPAs), or letter agreements.

Regardless of their form, any award from an outside sponsor which involves utilization of University resources, or in any way commits the University to performing services or providing goods, requires University approval. The Board of Directors has delegated authority for negotiation and acceptance of Main Campus and Law Center awards to the Office of Research Services (ORS).

ORS is the University's authorized representative to engage with external sponsors and the only office legally authorized to bind the Main Campus and the Law Center to externally funded agreements. All externally funded awards must be routed to relevant Grants and Contracts Administrator who reviews the awards for compliance with University policy.

Budgets

ORS will review the award budget and compare it to the proposed budget. Significant differences between the two budgets will be brought to the attention of the principal investigator. If budget changes are substantial, it is customary to revise the proposed statement of work to correspond to the budget changes.

Legal Considerations
  • a. Indemnification. The federal government will not indemnify (legally protect) its grantees and contractors. However, the University cannot control every element in a research project and some projects may have unanticipated risks. Therefore, the University requires that it be indemnified by commercial sponsors against any damages, claims, or liabilities that may arise from the study.

  • b. Publication. Academic freedom is a crucial principle for any institution of higher education. In the sponsored research field, the principles of academic freedom manifest themselves in the right of the University and its faculty to perform research and broadly disseminate the resulting information. Agreements infringe on this principle when they unduly limit publication rights. In addition, publication restrictions may trigger export control considerations.

  • c. Participation of foreign nationals. The University is committed to the principle of openness in research and does not limit the participation of foreign nationals in any of its projects. As a result, the University generally does not accept awards that limit the participation of foreign nationals based on their citizenship.

  • d. Confidentiality. The definition of "confidential information" can vary between agreements, and limiting the meaning of the term is essential to fully preserving publication rights. Ideal language defines confidential information as information disclosed by the sponsor in writing as confidential, or, if disclosed orally, reduced to writing and labeled as confidential shortly after disclosure.

  • e. Applicable Law. District of Columbia law should govern legal interpretation of grants and cooperative agreements and New York law should govern contracts.

  • f. Termination. The University should have the right to terminate the agreement for any reason.

  • g. Publicity. Neither party should have the right to use the other's name or symbols without prior written permission.

  • h. Payment Schedule. Most federal awards are paid by wire transfer on the basis of costs reported by the Sponsored Projects Financial Operations (SPFO). Foundations, private voluntary agencies and corporations generally pay on the basis of fixed schedules.

  • i. Intellectual Property. Normally, the University will own any inventions made by its personnel. The Office of Technology Commercialization should be consulted if the faculty member believes the award could result in licensable technology. Please go to Inventors page and see¬†Georgetown University's Intellectual Property Policy to review¬†the revised policy.

  • j. Reports. Any required technical or financial reports must be due on a clear, regular schedule. ORS will negotiate favorable reporting schedules.

  • k. Rights to Information. The University must have use of all of the underlying data and information resulting from the study, except as limited by the agreement's non-disclosure or confidentiality terms.