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Collaboration agreements

What are collaboration agreements?

Scientific and technological collaboration agreements are agreements of intent with legal effects that serve to regulate collaboration between organisations working together to achieve a common purpose and an interest objective for participants. These agreements define their rights and responsibilities and regulate relationships between the parties.

 

These agreements may be entered into by public administrations, public bodies and related or dependent public organisations or public universities with each other or with private parties in order to pursue and/or achieve a common aim.

 

Thus, they are a specific type of agreement governed by public law and regulated by Law 17/2022 of 5 September, which amends Law 14/2011 of 1 June on Science, Technology and Innovation (LCTI), which acts as a special regulation, and by Law 40/2015 of 1 October on the Legal Regime of the Public Sector (LRJSP), which is generally applicable. Furthermore, Article 14 of Organic Law 2/2023 of 22 March on the University System (LOSU) encourages cooperation and collaboration through, among other instruments, the creation of strategic alliances and collaboration networks which, in general, will be carried out through the signing of collaboration agreements.

What are the advantages?

Collaboration agreements allow various entities, whether public or private, to join forces and contribute their expertise for the benefit of a common objective, project or mission.

 

Through cooperation, universities may target their research activities to the needs of the socio-economic environment and adapt their graduates’ training to the needs of the market.

 

In addition, it allows researchers to collaborate with other organisations to direct basic research towards more applied research or to complement work developed by the other collaborating party. It is also beneficial for the purpose of evaluating their research activity and technology transfer.

 

For collaborating entities, this represents the possibility of increasing their technological capacity by benefiting from the knowledge and resources generated in universities. If the agreement stipulates an economic endowment, in some cases these entities may enjoy tax benefits for their contribution.

 

For all participants, collaborating fosters new ideas and different innovative approaches to achieve the common goal. It also helps to benefit from the research experiences of other institutions, it promotes interdependent relationships between participants and it facilitates the generation and transfer of scientific and technological knowledge. Furthermore, it favours a connected transnational education.

Who are they for?

Collaboration agreements are transfer instruments in which efforts and resources are combined in order to develop cooperative programmes, projects and activities of research, training, innovation and transfer and dissemination of knowledge in general or specific areas of common interest. They are relevant to the research staff of the Universitat de València and public and private organisations interested in undertaking a shared project in a collaborative or cooperative way. The agreement shall detail the terms and conditions of the relationship between the parties.

What do I need before I start?

If you have contacted a public or private organisation and both of you are interested in undertaking a specific project together or collaborating in a broader area of activity, please contact the Contracted R+D+I Section of the Transfer and Innovation Service of the Universitat de València as soon as possible, so that they can help you to identify possible ways of collaboration.

Classification of agreements

According to the LRJSP and depending on the organisation signing the agreement, a distinction can be made between:

  • Inter-administrative between different public administrations (including public universities) and between organisations dependent on the same public administration
  • Between a public administration (or university) and a subject of private law
  • International agreements not constituting an international treaty, international administrative agreement, or international non-normative agreement, concluded with a subject of international law

Depending on the activities to be undertaken, Article 34 of the LCTI distinguishes between the following types of R+D+I-related agreements:

  • Scientific research, development and innovation projects and actions
  • Establishment or funding of research centres, institutes, consortia or units, and scientific infrastructures 
  • Funding of unique scientific and technical projects
  • Training of scientific and technical staff
  • Scientific and technological dissemination
  • Shared use of buildings, facilities and material means for the development of scientific research, development and innovation activities

Agreements regulated in the LCTI may be signed by public administrations, public universities, public research bodies of the Spanish General State Administration and other public administrations, consortia and foundations in which public administrations have a stake, and National Health System centres and institutions, among themselves or with private agents, which carry out R+D+I activities, and which may be national, supranational or foreign.

For research staff, the agreements of greatest interest tend to be those aimed at the development of R+D+I activities and, to a lesser extent, those covering activities for the creation of research units and the shared use of facilities and material means, although a more complex collaboration agreement may include several objectives in its clauses.

Agreements related to knowledge transfer

Among the types of agreements regulated by LCTI, a wide variety of agreements related to R+D+I and knowledge transfer can be found. The most common ones are:

Scientific collaboration agreements, in which the signatory parties agree either to jointly develop a specific project or to collaborate in a specific area of activity, pooling efforts and resources. The activities to be undertaken may be R+D+I, peer counselling, training, staff exchange or sharing of space and equipment.

Agreements regulating public subsidies, financed through direct subsidies granted by public administrations, in the fulfilment of a public service of interest. These may be R+D+I work, consultancy, dissemination or publications, among others. They have an annual duration and must be justified, with the management complexity that this entails.

Collaborative agreements in the framework of public and private calls for proposals: they are usually associated with the development of R+D+I activities in the framework of public collaborative R+D programmes, called by public administrations or private organisations. This formalises the relationship between different organisations that work together for the execution of a cooperative project in which the rights and obligations of the parties are established, in relation to a common project, without the collaboration of the administration that finances the project. It is important to bear in mind what is stated in the call for proposals.

University Chairs channelling medium and long-term collaborations between the Universitat de València and institutions and companies in any field of knowledge of mutual interest. They provide a stable and wide-ranging collaboration that extends its activities to all areas of university activity and will under no circumstances be in the nature of a service provision. At the Universitat de València, they are regulated in the “Reglament per a la creació i funcionament de les càtedres de la Universitat de València” (ACGUV 267/2017).” 

Sponsorships or donations: contributions made by a private or public entity without requiring a direct counterpart or results from the beneficiary entity, for the execution of activities which are their own or which are in the general interest. Similar to the chairs of the Universitat de València, they are based on Law 49/2002 of 23 December, on the tax regime for non-profit organisations and tax incentives for sponsorships, and they are usually implemented through agreements. In this sense, the sponsoring organisation can obtain the stipulated tax incentives provided in the IRPF or in the corporate tax (IS), as the case may be. Not to be confused with sponsorship contracts, in which the organisation that provides the funds does expect a benefit, typically advertising. In this case, they would be considered contracts within the framework of Article 60 of LOSU.

Mixed Research Units: A Mixed Research Unit is a research structure without its own legal entity, formed by similar research structures belonging to two or more research entities. It is constituted by mutual agreement on the basis of the development of common, related or complementary scientific and technological activities and in which a stable relationship of scientific cooperation has been and continues to be maintained.

A number of PDI (Teaching and Research Staff) from the UV and another from other research centres is associated with the Mixed Research Unit. In addition, spaces, equipment and infrastructures for common use of the participating institutions are shared, guiding the action through a participatory strategy and a common scientific project. For its formalisation, a collaboration agreement must be signed.

General Action Protocols (formerly Framework Agreements) deserve special mention: they are declarations of intent expressing the will of the signatory parties to act with a common purpose, but their signature does not entail the formalisation of specific and enforceable legal commitments, and therefore cannot regulate any specific activity. They do not imply any financial commitment or compensation, and each and every one of the activities that may arise must be regulated in specific agreements.

General Action Protocols (PGA) can be signed for any type of activity, including those related to R+D+I and knowledge transfer, and are comparable to declarations of intent, memoranda of understanding (MOU) and memoranda of intention (MOI).

The LRJSP excludes PGAs from its scope of application, so there is no specific legal regulation, which allows the parties greater freedom of content, as long as it does not involve the adoption of legal commitments.

Agreements with financial contribution

Collaboration agreements allow organisations to work together, according to the characteristics and capacities of each one of them, with the aim of achieving a common goal. For this purpose, the participants undertake to provide material and human resources – such a contribution may be in kind or in cash. In the latter case, it must be clear whether it is an agreement with a financial contribution or another type of legal instrument (e.g. a contract):

  • Agreements with financial contributions are not onerous, and there is no profit margin. It is not a provision of services, but rather a contribution by the parties for the development of an activity, so that the contributions (in cash or in kind) may not exceed the costs of executing the agreement.
  • For this reason, the financial amount cannot be used for the salaries of the participating researchers, as this would be a provision of services.
  • As there is no financial compensation, economical contributions are not invoiced with VAT, so only certificates justifying the contributions can be issued. Depending on what is to be done, these contributions may be eligible for the tax relief contained in Law 49/2002 of 23 December 2002 on the tax regime for non-profit organisations and tax incentives for sponsorship.
  • It is important to be aware of intellectual property rights. In this case, the activity will not be subject to the delivery of results, as no payment has been made for them. In any case, a distribution of results among the participants can be envisaged, depending on the contributions of the parties. 
  • They should not be confused with R+D+I agreements that are signed to access public funding for scientific and technical projects, whose funding comes from a public administration and all participants benefit from it, nor with competitive calls for proposals launched by private law agents, for the same reason, as they do not participate in the activity and do not have a share in the results.
Who can be a promoter of a collaboration agreement?
  • Staff of the Universitat de València in active service can be promoters of a collaboration agreement. In the case of temporarily contracted staff, their contractual relationship with the UV must be formalised at least for the duration of the activities contemplated in the contract. 
  • Depending on the type of agreement in question, the team leaders shall manage the work under the agreement, distribute the tasks to be carried out by the team members and represent the team. It is their obligation to ensure compliance with the activities committed to in the agreement or in the conditions contained in the call for proposals, where applicable.
  • Promoters are also obliged to provide any information and documentation requested by the Office of the General Manager and the management services on the occasion of monitoring, control and accountability operations that may be carried out.
Who can sign collaboration agreements?

The Principal of the Universitat de València has the authority to sign General Action Protocols. Other types of agreements may be signed by the Principal of the UV or the office of the vice-principal with delegated powers for the signing of agreements.

Should indirect costs be applied in agreements with financial contributions?

Since the contributions made in collaboration agreements are aimed at achieving a common purpose, no indirect costs will generally be applied to these contributions.
There are exceptions to this generic rule:

  1. In the case of agreements that regulate direct subsidies, the provisions of their clauses shall apply.
  2. In the case of agreements aimed at the development of projects in competitive concurrence with subsidies, the call for proposals shall apply.
Is it possible to receive additional allowances for participation in a collaboration agreement?

As collaboration agreements are not onerous and have no profit margin, it is not possible to obtain additional allowances.

What about the rights to the results?

Industrial and intellectual property rights of the results may be shared or distributed according to the contributions of the parties. In no case is the ownership of the rights transferred to the other party.

 
 
 
 

Reference Rules File(s)
L 40/2015

Ley 40/2015, d'1 de octubre, de Règim Jurídic del Sector Públic

L 49/2002

Ley 49/2002, de 23 de diciembre, de régimen fiscal de las entidades sin fines lucrativos y de los incentivos fiscales al mecenazgo

L 2/2011

Llei 2/2011, de 4 de març, d'Economia Sostenible

L 38/2003

Llei 38/2003, de 17 de novembre, General de Subvencions

L 20/2018

LLEI 20/2018, de 25 de juliol, de la Generalitat, del mecenatge cultural, científic i esportiu no professional a la Comunitat Valenciana

IUV 7/2019

Instrucció de la Gerència de la Universitat de València sobre la gestió económica d'activitats d'investigació, desenvolupament i innovació articulades mitjançant convenis i contractes

 
Letter of intent to process the agreement
Request for the recognition of a personal line of credit
Procediment per a la suscripció d'un conveni de col·laboració
Differences between a contract and an agreement
Commonly used clauses for all tranfer contracts and agreements
Possibility to use transfer contracts and agreements
Contracts and agreements with financial benefits
 
 

Functions of the Transfer and Innovation Service

 

The Transfer and Innovation service, through the contracted R+D+I section advises on all aspects of the management procedure of the agreements:

  • Advice on the most appropriate model of documentation
  • Revision of the documentation to be submitted by the personnel responsible for or promoting the initiative.
  • Redaction and, when applicable, revision of the agreement clauses.
  • Proceedings before the competent vice-rectorates and for the Governing Council, where appropriate.
  • Management of the file and, once signed, follow up.
Contact

Transfer and Innovation Service

Contracted R+D+I Section

C/ Amadeo de Saboya 4, 46010 València

Universitat de València 

 

sti.contratada@uv.es

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