Research partnerships

Research partnerships

Engaging with external partners for research

The Macquarie University Research Services can help you with non-grant funding sources, including the identification, development and management of relationships with external partners.

A Partner Funder is a close stakeholder with a keen and vested interesting in using the finding and outputs of a project to achieve specific outomes related to their organisational strategy. Partner-funded research projects usually have the following characteristics:

  • The research project focus and the proposal are collaborativley developed between the researcher and the partner, including the key terms such as budgets, milestones and deliverables.
  • The partner-funder usually contributes cash and in-kind, especially the time of their personnel.
  • The decision criteria, review and approval process for proposals can be very minimal and quick but can also be drawn out by a partner's changing organisational priorities.

Who is a partner?

Partners include corporate businesses, governments, government business enterprises, non-government organisations, not-for-profit groups and community organisations.

If you are interested in working with industry, government, NGOs and other organisations to find solutions to current industry challenges, inform policy and improve service delivery, or are considering submitting a research tender, please contact a Research Partnerships Manager.

Getting started

***************************** NEW PROCESS *****************************

A new process for partner-funded research projects now being lodged in Pure, was launched on 12 July, 2018. It is aimed at improving the visibility of partnership matters amongst key internal stakeholders as well as streamlining the process for progressing partner-funded research projects.

A Partner-Funded Research Project proposal starts with completion of a Project Brief form, accessible through the Research Services Service Now portal.  A Basic Project Brief notifies your HoD.  An Extended Project Brief, completed alongside drafting of your proposal, informs your RPM and ADR and automatically creates a Pure Application.  Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the new process to ensure you are prepared for your next partner-funded project submission.

Overview of key activity steps and further explanation about the new process.


Guides

View the detailed Q&A based Guide to conducting research with external organisations.

View the Quick Reference Guide to Conducting Research With External Organisations which provides an overview of each phase of developing a partnership and proposal, key activities and support/resources available through the University.

 

Partner-funded research process infographic

Download and view the partner-funded research process infographic which provides a quick guide to the essential steps involved in successfully submitting your research proposal.

Steps

Step 1: Plan and Prepare for a Proposal

Prospect identification and initial contact

  • Look for potential partner/s who are funding other research activities in your field
  • Identify their competitors
  • Determine which peak bodies are active in this sector
  • Which potential partner organisations have stakeholders who could benefit from your research outputs?
  • Are there potential partner organisations that provide services or products in your research area, or conduct manufacturing, sales or R&D activities in your research area?
  • Can you identify the potential challenges or problems your research might address for these organisations?

When conducting an environmental scan for potential partners the library has databases which can be mined for a great deal of information (refer Resources section).  For example IBISWorld Industry Market Research covers over 500 industry reports, offering the latest content on every Australian industry. Each report consists of 30 to 40 pages of key statistics and analysis on market characteristics, operating conditions, current and historical performance,major industry participants and more.

Checklist - prospect identification and initial contact

Note:  The following checklist is for use by researchers and does not need to be submitted with funding proposals.

□ I have a research idea that may help to solve a problem/open up an opportunity for an external partner organisation, or

□ I have identified or been approached by an external organisation to discuss a potential research project.

□ I have made some initial background enquiries about the partner organisation(s) and/or industry sector and their future plans to identify problems or challenges they are trying to address or opportunities they want to exploit.

□ I have liaised with a Research Partnerships Manager about my interest and intentions and completed a Basic Project Brief.

□ I have submitted a Basic Project Brief to my Head of Department to inform them of my plans to develop a partner-funded research proposal.

□ I have referred to the following resources for further guidance:

Download checklist

Step 2: Develop a Proposal

Partner discussions

I have had conversations with my potential partner(s) to:

  • understand their needs
  • find synergies in our interests and capabilities
  • identify problems or challenges they are trying to address or opportunities they want to exploit
  • start to understand the mutual benefits of partnering
  • exchange ideas on potential projects
  • understand and document some of the key pre-contractual terms that will be important to each party

Checklist - partner discussions

Note:  The following checklist is for use by researchers and does not need to be submitted with funding proposals.

□ I have had conversations with my potential partner(s) to understand their needs, find synergies in our interests and capabilities, understand the mutual benefits of partnering and exchange ideas on potential projects

□ I have sought input from a Research Partnerships Manager (or where applicable, Faculty Engagement Manager) and/or the Commercialisation and Innovation Office about costing and pricing, intellectual property and publication rights essential to negotiation of my contract (refer Contracts and agreements).

□ I have consulted with my Head of Department and Faculty General Manager about use of University facilities for the project including access to additional IT/computing equipment, building space and accommodation for project personnel.

I have received the advice I need to continue to work with my partner organisation to develop a pitch/preliminary project proposal.

  • Partner pitch template
    A two page template to help to initially profile your research interests and capabilities with potential partners.

In consultation with a Research Partnerships Manager, I have completed and submitted an Extended Project Brief to provide more information about my planned proposal to my Associate Dean Research.  Note:  When your ADR endorses the Brief, a Pure record will automatically be created for you.

□ I have referred to the following resources for further guidance:

Download checklist

Step 3: Submit a Proposal

Proposal finalisation, negotiations and approvals

Develop a formal proposal for your partner/s to:

  • articulate your concept of a mutually appealing project
  • demonstrate your understanding of the partner's needs, and how your project addresses their need
  • understand the resource requirements for the project (e.g. personnel, budget, equipment)
  • express expectations around IP, timelines, etc
  • finalise details in Pure Application to secure Macquarie approvals

Checklist - proposal finalisation, negotiations and approvals

Note:  The following checklist is for use by researchers and does not need to be submitted with funding proposals.

□  I have developed a formal proposal for my partner(s) which makes a compelling case for the research, articulates the resource requirements for the project (e.g. personnel, budget, equipment) and expresses expectations around IP, timelines, etc

□  I have completed my Macquarie Pure Partner-Funded Research Application to formally obtain my Head of Department and Faculty approvals.

□  I have sent my proposal with all appropriate documents to the partner organisation and copied a Research Partnerships Manager at research.partnerships@mq.edu.au.

□  I have referred to the following resources for further guidance:

Download checklist

Step 4: Contracts and agreements

Agreement drafting, review and signing

Liaise with your Research Partnerships Manager to:

  • Prepare instructions for drafting and/or review of a research agreement*
  • Familiarise yourself with pertinent sections of the draft agreement and prepare necessary schedules
  • Respond to questions and requested revisions from partner organisations concerning agreement clauses and schedules

*The Research Services Policy & Contracts Team in conjunction with the Office of General Counsel (Research Legal) reviews, drafts, negotiates and arranges execution of all research-related contracts and agreements with external organisations.

Checklist - agreement drafting, review and signing

Note:  The following checklist is for use by researchers and does not need to be submitted with funding proposals and contracts.

□  I have liaised with my Research Partnerships Manager to prepare instructions for drafting and/or review of a research agreement.

□  I have familiarised myself with pertinent sections of the draft agreement and prepared necessary schedules.

□   I have responded to questions and requested revisions from partner organisations concerning agreement clauses and schedules.

□  I have referred to the following resources for further guidance:

Download checklist

Resources

Guides

Guide to conducting research with external organisations
A Q&A based guide to the phases of partnering as well as available support and resources.

Quick guide
A one page summary of partnering phases, support and resources.

Mapping potential partners
A question-based guide to developing an action plan to expand partnering opportunities.

Information sessions and workshops

Research Partnership Managers provide information sessions and facilitate workshops on the following topics.  While some are scheduled as University-wide events, they are often best provided on request for academic departments research groups, or small groups and can be customised to suit particular needs.  Short web-based learning modules are planned to be made available in 2017.

  • Identifying potential partner organisations (industry sector information and databases)
  • Discussing research ideas with non-academic partners
  • Developing pitches and proposals for industry, government and not-for-profit partners
  • Budget, intellectual property and publication negotiations
  • Research agreement and contract essentials

To request a session, please email us at research.partnerships@mq.edu.au.

Industry sector information and databases

To find a suitable partner, it helps to have an awareness of where your research might have relevance in particular sectors of the economy and society.  Scanning the following sources of information and databases can provide you with valuable insights into important issues and trends to inform this task.

Australian Bureau of Statistics
The ABS provides official statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters of importance to Australia.

IBISWorld
Industry Market Research database that covers over 500 industry reports, offering the latest content on every Australian industry. Each report consists of 30 to 40 pages of key statistics and analysis on market characteristics, operating conditions, current and historical performance,major industry participants and more.

Australian Government Industry Growth Centres
An industry-led approach to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority that will help Australia transition into smart, high value and export focused industries.  Familiarity with these Centre's plans and engagement with their Executive and Management is essential when preparing applications and proposals for many industry collaborative funding schemes administered by the Australian Government.

Australian Government National Innovation and Science Agenda
Programs and support to assist researchers and universities collaborate with industry and other external organisations.

New South Wales Government Key Industry Sectors
Descriptive and statistical information about key industry sectors in New South Wales.

New South Wales Government Innovation and Research
Programs and initiatives to support the creation of strong linkages between higher education, business and the community.

Research Professional database of funding opportunities

Research Professional database
University staff are encouraged to use this database to search for research funding opportunities that could assist in their partnering activities.

Leverage funding schemes

Enterprise Partnerships Scheme

The University offers partnership seed funding through its Enterpise Partnerships Scheme to encourage initial research engagement with commercial, government and philanthropic organisations. This can help fund preliminary engagement activities and your first pilot research project with external partners.

Templates - proposal, budgets and agreements

Partner pitch template
A two page template to help to initially profile your research interests and capabilities with potential partners.

Partner proposal template
A template for preparing formal project proposals.

Budget template
A spreadsheet for preparing detailed costings and a budget summary for partner-funded research projects.

Draft Term Sheet template
A template to be used under advice from your Research Partnerships Manager to guide discussions and to facilitate agreement "in principle" with partner organisations about important contractual terms and conditions.

Agreement templates
A set of template agreements that contain the University's preferred terms for specific types of research collaborations.

Policies - indirect costs (overheads) and intellectual property

Indirect (Overheads) Costs Policy
To factor in the real costs incurred by the University while doing research projects.

Intellectual Property Policy
To facilitate the efficient and timely transfer of our research to industry, government and the community. 
The University also has a set of IP Guiding Principles.

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