University-Foundation Relations

The relationship between nonprofit disease foundations and research institutions is evolving. Although in many ways this evolution presents new and exciting opportunities, it has also brought about new tensions.

FasterCures’ University-Foundation Relations program builds relationships, fosters communication, and bridges gaps in understanding between academic research institutions and patient foundations as it relates to both intellectual property and research administration. Working with stakeholders from both sectors, this program develops resources and educational content designed to streamline the overall technology transfer process and, by extension, the research process.

University Foundation Relations CoverTools You Can Use

There is a long tradition of foundation support of research conducted by academic institutions, but times and priorities are shifting with government funding shrinking and philanthropy taking more outcomes-driven approaches. Use the information in this toolkit to help you think through your approaches to crafting agreements with universities that best serve the needs and interests of all parties. We offer here sample agreements from three different foundations that represent varying approaches, priorities, and levels of complexity. Also included are other templates addressing issues such as access to research tools, milestones and deliverables, progress reporting, confidential disclosure, materials transfer, and research consortia. 

Build Relationships

FasterCures convenes representatives from academia and patient groups to build relationships and foster understanding regarding the challenges, goals, strengths, and weaknesses of each group while also identifying ways these groups can work more productively with each other.

Develop Resources

Model Provisions: FasterCures engaged stakeholders from both sectors to contribute to the drafting of model provisions around three key areas: early-stage research, commercialization, and revenue sharing.

Foundation-University Partnership toolkit: The information in this toolkit is designed to help organizations craft agreements that best serve the needs of all parties. It provides tools and templates for more strategically addressing a broad range of commonly faced issues, such as sharing of research tools, crafting appropriate milestones and deliverables, comprehensive progress reporting, confidential disclosure, materials transfer, and organizing research consortia.

“From Transactional to Transformative Partnerships” workshop summary: This report highlights key takeaways from the  September 2014 TRAIN (The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network) workshop, where more than 60 stakeholders representing academic research institutions, nonprofit disease foundations, industry, investors, and the legal community, convened in Boston to address university-foundation partnerships. 

Venturing into New Territory: Working together with the aim of forming an ongoing partnership rather than a one-time transaction is likely to serve the interests of both institutions and foundations, and ultimately the research. Through a series of discussions with a diverse group of stakeholders representing both academia and foundations, FasterCures identified three principles of engagement to facilitate this process. In this Milken Institute Review article, we introduce these principles, discuss why they matter and identify ways to implement them.