A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is a written agreement between a non-federal entity and a government agency to work together on a project. Created in response to the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980, and amended by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, a CRADA allows the federal government and its non-federal partners to optimize and maximize use of their resources, exchange technical expertise in a protected fashion, share intellectual property resulting from collaborative effort, and speed commercialization of federally-developed technology. CRADAs are authorized by 15 U.S.C. 3710a.
A CRADA enables the establishment of mutually beneficial public-private partnerships and arrangements. A CRADA can:
- Provide incentives that help speed the commercialization of federally-developed technology.
- Protect each party’s proprietary information or intellectual property brought to the CRADA effort.
- Allow all CRADA participants/parties to keep CRADA research results confidential and free from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act for up to five years.
- Allow the government and its partner(s) to maintain joint ownership (share patents and patent licenses).
- Permit one partner in the partnership to retain exclusive rights to a patent or patent license.
- Allow funding or other support to transfer to the government (although it does not allow funding or other support to transfer from the government to the non-federal entity, as this would require a different funding mechanism such as a federal contract or grant).
A CRADA is originated by the federal scientist(s) involved in the collaboration. If a scientist feels that collaboration would be in the best interests of all parties, a principal investigator (PI) develops a statement of work (SOW) in coordination with other partners.
After drafting the SOW, the PI works with his/her respective Technology Transfer Office to create a draft CRADA, with an attached statement of work. The draft CRADA is then routed through the laboratory management chain for review and approval. If approved, the draft is forwarded back to the Technology Transfer Office. A CRADA officer then contacts the partner(s) to discuss the CRADA. After an agreement is reached, the CRADA officer prepares and disseminates signed copies to the partner(s) and all other appropriate parties within the PI’s organization.
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