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 Policy and Procedure

Researchers preparing funding budgets must include applicable research overhead charges per the University’s Overhead Policy and Research Overhead Procedure. These can be found on the University’s policies page.

Overhead is calculated as a percentage of all direct costs of a research project. Further details can be found within the Research Overhead Procedure document.

Unless otherwise specified for a particular funding program. The generic rates of overhead for a research grant or research contract is 25%. Rates and exceptions can be found in the Research Overhead Procedure. Some exceptions include Sponsored Human Clinical Trials at 30%, United States Federal Government funding at 39.8%, and philanthropic funds at 0%. If you are unsure which rate to include, please contact the Research Services Office for further guidance.

Researchers have the option to apply for a reduction or waiver of the University’s overhead charge. 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. All reductions and waivers are reviewed and approved by the faculty and VPR.

To apply for a reduction or waiver, Researchers must complete the Application for Waiver/Reduction of Overhead form found in the Research Overhead Procedure.

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.