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.
"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
"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."