Background Regarding Intellectual Property/Data Sharing Plans
Increasingly, NIH RFAs and RFPs either require or encourage a statement pertaining to the sharing of research resources or to intellectual property. The following sample language may be useful to Principal Investigators to consider as they prepare proposals to the NIH.
NIH wants to ensure that research tools, resources developed with NIH funds are readily available to the research community. NIH looks for specific plans for sharing data, materials and software generated with NIH funds. Such resources should be freely available by entire research community, consistent with the terms of Bayh-Dole (1999) (PDF). The NIH Policy statement on this subject is titled Principles and Guidelines for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts on Obtaining and Disseminating Biomedical Research Resources.
A statement on data sharing is required by NIH of applicants seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year of the project period (Final NIH Statement On Sharing Research Data). Data sharing is particularly important in those NIH-funded programs where databases are being developed, or libraries of methodologies, sequences, SNPs, etc. are a funding objective. Investigators should describe clearly and directly how data will be shared: e.g. open source code, posting of data to an open web site, publications/presentations to the research community. Reasonable time delays for protection of rights are permissible under Bayh-Dole and should be mentioned, if appropriate.
Your proposal may be adversely affected if you do not document that you understand and agree to abide by applicable NIH and University of Chicago policies and procedures. To assist you in fulfilling your obligations as a recipient of federal funding and as a member of the faculty, we have prepared some sample language that you should adapt to reflect the types of research tools involved or that you expect to be created if your application is funded. Your signature on the proposal confirms to NIH that you understand and accept these important responsibilities.
The University of Chicago is committed to the open and timely dissemination of research outcomes. Investigators in the proposed activity recognize that promising new methods, technologies, strategies and computer software [revise as applicable to the nature of the research program] may arise during the course of the research. The Investigators are aware of and agreed to abide by the principles for sharing research resources as described by NIH in “Principles and Guidelines for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts on Obtaining and Disseminating Biomedical Research Resources.”
While the investigators expect that research tools will be freely shared with the research community, opportunities for technology transfer through commercialization will be explored as appropriate. Working with the University community, the University of Chicago’s Office of Technology and Intellectual Property (The Polsky Center), manages intellectual property at the University of Chicago. The Polsky Center serves faculty, staff and students by commercializing inventions, ideas and software developed at the University to ensure that new knowledge benefits society.
The Polsky Center works with researchers to assess the commercial potential of new ideas. The Polsky Center’s goals are to disseminate new ideas so the public can benefit from discoveries, and to generate revenues for research and education. When the best means of disseminating discoveries and new intellectual property is collaboration between the University and commercial entities, The Polsky Center has a special role to play. It protects the rights of the inventors and the University-and then typically works with industry, granting licenses so that a company will develop the discovery and bring it to the market. Revenues from licenses secured by The Polsky Center are shared with the inventor, the inventor’s laboratory, and the inventor’s academic division. Where opportunities arise for corporate sponsored research related to the NIH-funded research programs, the University expects any agreements to conform to the principles described by NIH in the 1994 policy “Developing Sponsored Research Agreements: Consideration for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts."