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Scotland’s universities have developed a new suite of standard agreements to help make business-academic partnerships quicker and easier to set up and manage from a legal perspective.

The agreements can now be downloaded for free from the Interface website. They provide a clear starting point for reaching rapid mutual understanding between businesses and their academic partners about areas like confidentiality and intellectual property rights. They are also designed to prompt useful discussions at the initial stages of project scoping and to help remove some of the perceived barriers of business-academic engagement.

Different types of collaboration, from research to studentship agreements are covered by the documents, which also take into account a range of scenarios determined by the company’s contribution to the partnership.

One business that has already benefited from using the legal agreements is Middle Way Ltd, which has worked on innovation projects with both Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Glasgow.

Catriona Monson, who co-founded the company, said:

“Having the standard documentation has made the legal and administrative side of collaborating really quick and easy for us and meant that we could focus our time on the important part of getting started with the research.”

Dr Mike Smith, Executive and Policy Manager at SRUC, who convened the Scottish Universities group responsible for developing the standard legal agreements, said:

“Getting all the 19 Scottish Universities to agree on commonly used legal templates will help smooth the pathway to collaborations with a diversity of organisations in both the public and private sectors.

“It helps to underscore how much the universities value the importance of collaborating with businesses and other organisations to help promote innovation and enterprise and is a practical demonstration of Scottish universities being very much open for business.”