Note to Departments

As of September 14th, 2020, AURA Agreements has replaced Service Now as the system of record for all research-related contracts. AURA Agreements is a contract management system offered in the same software suite as the other AURA products and will be integrated with the AURA Grants module.

The AURA Agreements module offers a single point of entry for all research-related contracts and streamlines the process for routing contracts for negotiation and signature. It also offers complete transparency of the status of the agreement and terms that are under negotiation.

For more information about this process update, please see the campus announcement made August 24, 2020. Also, review the Intro to AURA Agreements webinar, training deck and AURA Agreements Decision Matrix here.

Signature Authority

The University’s Board of Trustees has authorized the Associate Vice President for Research Administration to sign all research related contracts. The signature of an authorized official certifies that commitments made on grants and contracts can be honored; verifies the accuracy of information provided on grant proposals or contract agreements; and ensures that all sponsored agreements conform to federal regulations, agency guidelines, and University policies. Further information can be found at   Please route all such agreements to URA for its review and endorsement. Please refrain from signing such contracts prior to such review.

What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

Clinical trial sponsors or clinical research organizations (CRO) may wish for the Principal Investigator and/or study staff to review documents such as the Investigator Brochure, Protocol, and other non-public or proprietary information to evaluate the protocol and gauge her or his interest in conducting the clinical trial. The NDA, or Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) assures the sponsor or CRO that the institution will protect the confidential information against unauthorized disclosure for a period of time.

What is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial can be a study involving human subjects that is designed to answer specific questions about the effects or impact of particular biomedical intervention. Such studies may include drugs, devices, or treatments. A clinical trial can also be a study involving molecular or imaging diagnostics, which may use the results of the study in a manner that somehow affects medical decision-making and the outcome for the study subject, or unless performing the diagnostic test itself imposes some risk on study subjects. Some clinical trials are behavioral intervention studies with the goal to increase behavior (ex. exercise), eliminate or reduce behaviors (ex. smoking) and/or improve coping and quality of life, or reduce negative secondary results of treatment. Clinical trials may be funded by pharmaceutical or medical device companies, or federal or non-federal grants.

What is a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)?

A Material Transfer Agreement is a written contract between a provider and a recipient of research material (They can be between academic, government, and commercial organizations). The MTA defines the rights of the provider and recipient with respect to the materials, intellectual property (actual and potential), liability, confidentiality of provider information, publication of recipient research results, and other associated legal formalities that the provider and recipient may wish to cover in the transaction.

What is a Corporate Contract?

A corporate contract is a written, legal agreement between an institution (contractor) and a company, normally involving the expectation of an economic benefit on the part of the contractor and the generation of a tangible product, service, or other consideration in return for sponsored support. These might include testing or evaluation of proprietary products, development or construction of equipment, rights to data, patents, copyrights, technical reports or evaluation, consulting services. For Federal Contracts, please click here.

What is an Outgoing Research Services Agreement (ORS)?

University researchers sometimes wish to engage other entities to provide research or research-related services, with payment coming from gift or internal sources. Because these contracts require research terms and conditions, URA is the appropriate office to negotiate and sign these agreements, coded as ORS in AURA.  You can find information on submitting these agreements here. For guidance on when these transactions should be handled by Procurement vs. URA, please consult this guide.