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Grants and Contracts

Most research faculty and staff are not authorized to sign agreements to fund research such as applications for grants and contracts. Nevertheless, investigators often see initial drafts of agreements and it is important to be aware that certain terms raise "red flags" that may invalidate the fundamental research exception or be illegal.

The following list of items of concern in a contract or research agreement is taken from the Export Control Manual of the University of Pennsylvania:

  1. References U.S. export control regulations (beyond a mere statement to comply with the law);
  2. Restricts access or participation based on country of origin;
  3. Restricts the use of proprietary or confidential information;
  4. Grants the sponsor pre-publication review and approval for matters other than the inclusion of patent or sponsor proprietary/confidential information;
  5. Allows the sponsor to claim the results or data generated in the agreement as proprietary or trade secret;
  6. Involves export controlled equipment (if known);
  7. Includes foreign sponsors or collaborators;
  8. Involves travel, shipping, or work outside of the United States;
  9. Involves military applications of project results.

Some of these issues may be negotiated and approved on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Sponsored Programs; others may be inconsistent with university policy or illegal.

Updated 3/28/2020

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