Research agreements

In reviewing agreements, the Legal & IP Unit ensures that research projects are fully compliant with University policies.

The policies routinely referred to during a review include:

  • Research Overhead and Indirect Costs
  • Intellectual Property
  • Research Integrity
  • Conflict of Interest

All polices and procedures are available online at: ucalgary.ca/policies 


General legal inquiries: legaladm@ucalgary.ca

Research Overhead and Indirect Costs Policy

Researchers preparing proposals for funding must anticipate applicable overhead charges and include them in cost estimates or budgets.

Overhead is calculated as a percentage of all direct costs of a research project. In certain cases, overhead is calculated only on the payroll and travel components of direct costs. (See Research Overhead and Indirect Costs Procedures found at the link provided above.)

Research Grants” are generally subject to an overhead rate of 25%, subject to certain exceptions noted in the Overhead Policy.

Research Contracts” are generally subject to an overhead rate of 25%, subject to certain exceptions noted in the Overhead Policy.

“Research Contracts” for clinical research, which are governed by the Clinical Trials Policy, are subject to overhead at the rate of 30%. (For further information contact the Faculty of Medicine Research Office.)

Researchers have the option to apply for a reduction or waiver of the University’s overhead charge on a specific grant or contract, but these exceptions are rarely approved.

Where funding is awarded pursuant to an application process, the request and approval of an exception must be completed prior to submission of the grant application. An overhead reduction or waiver will not be considered after an application has been made or award received.

To apply for a reduction or waiver, Researchers must complete the Application for Waiver/Reduction of Overhead form. To obtain a copy of this form, please email a request to legaladm@ucalgary.ca.

If an exception is granted, researchers must forward a copy of the completed form back to the Legal & IP Division at legaladm@ucalgary.ca.

Intellectual Property Policy

The Intellectual Property (“IP”) policy grants researchers the right of ownership in IP created pursuant to research projects, subject to a few important exceptions

When a researcher plans to undertake a new research project, and the sponsor is demanding rights to the IP emerging from the research, the Legal & IP Unit must ensure that any new grant of rights in the pending research agreement does not conflict with previous legal commitments and is compatible with the researcher’s future research and commercialization objectives.

The most common option provided to sponsors by the University is to grant the sponsor a non-exclusive right to use the IP without any right to sublicense. 

The IP policy emphasizes the special importance of publication in the university environment. For that reason, the Legal & IP Unit makes an effort to ensure that research agreements preserve the right of the researcher and graduate students to publish the results of their work.  It is rare for the University to agree to perform secret research which cannot be published in any circumstance.