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September 2005 Issue

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UC Simplifies Research Agreement with P&G

Published September 2005

UC and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have signed an agreement that will make it easier for scientists from both entities to work together on research projects.

The new "master agreement"--which reduces once-lengthy contracts to a concise, consistent document--could speed up joint research significantly.

"So many of our faculty members work with P&G throughout the year, it only makes sense that we donŐt reinvent the wheel for each new project," says Sandra Degen, PhD, UCŐs acting vice president for research.

Industry contracts can be very different from academic ones, Dr. Degen says. But with master agreements in place, simplifying normally complex issues like intellectual property and confidentiality, collaborations between industry and academia can run much more smoothly-- saving both time and money.

"We hope this new master agreement will not only speed up the research process, but also help to increase collaboration with P&G," says Dr. Degen. "We can now concentrate on the relationship we want to have with P&G and pursue opportunities without getting bogged down negotiating the terms of contracts."

"The less time we can spend on dealing with lengthy contracts, the more we can spend on finding real solutions that meet the needs of the worldŐs consumers," says Jeffrey Hamner, P&G vice president for corporate research and development. "UC has been a great partner in the past and is a top-notch research institution, which happens to be in our backyard. The agreement makes it much easier for us to work together."

UC researchers have a long history of working with P&G on projects ranging from osteoporosis to obesity to cosmetic science. In addition, chemists from P&G Pharmaceuticals work on site at UCŐs Genome Research Institute.

Vladimir Garstein, P&G corporate chemical technology division research fellow, has already worked with UC using the master agreement.

"The alliance agreement has been most helpful up to this point. It has allowed us to take advantage of UCŐs sensor knowledge, computer modeling and electrical engineering expertise," he says.

According to Randy Seeley, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and associate director of the Obesity Research Center, UC scientists look forward to using the master agreement with P&G on future projects.

"Our lab has collaborated with different industrial partners on a number of projects, so we know how difficult it can be to get everything in place, or even get started," says Dr. Seeley.

"ItŐs useful to know the next time we work with P&G, many of these issues will be settled and we can get to the scientific work much faster."

UC already has similar master agreements with General Electric, Boeing and Ford. "In the past, every contract had more than 20 pages of boilerplate," says Paul Bishop, PhD, associate dean for graduate studies and research in the UC College of Engineering. "Even though this standard language was similar or identical, it had to be re-evaluated and renegotiated with each new contract.

"As a result, some contracts took 15 months or more to negotiate. That meant opportunities were lost--or people moved on to other projects or institutions. Some projects even died because of it."

Although the new UC-P&G master agreement is in its early stages, researchers in UCŐs departments of engineering and psychology are already taking advantage of it.

"For the University of Cincinnati to achieve its research goals, we must develop mutually beneficial partnerships with industry," says UC President Nancy Zimpher, PhD. "The breadth of the agreements and the strength of our partners speak to the dynamic research environment in southwest Ohio as well as UCŐs vital role in the region." 

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