Publicly-Funded Research Act


Q: If a project starts off below "Full Cost" and proves successful, can a Funder 'top up' the initial funding to make the project > "Full Cost" and enable the Funder to then own the IP?

A: No. One cannot backfill project costs to move IP emanating from a project out of the control of the IPR Act once the IP has been created. In applying the IPR Act, one needs to consider the status of the project (i.e. whether it is above or below Full Cost) at the time that the IP is created - that then governs whether the IPR Act applies to the IP or not.

Q: Are theses exempt from the Act, along with other books and publications associated with academic work?

A: Yes the copyright relating to these publications falls outside the scope of the Act, but remember that an invention that may be written about in the thesis or publication is not exempt. It may be patentable and as such a different form of intellectual property - it is only the copyright aspect of a thesis or publication that is exempt. Inventions that can be protected through patenting or other forms of statutory IP protection must be disclosed to RC&I within 90 days of their discovery and prior to publication.

Q: Where do I access a full cost model and find out how to prepare the bugdet for my research project on a "full cost basis"?

A: You can find the UCT template under Research Contracts tab on this website in the "Costing" subsection. You will need to log into the page to download the Excel template by using your staff number and your network password.

Standard full cost models will be introduced in all faculties from January 2011. Please refer to your Faculty Finance Office for more details.

Q: Are NIH projects full cost and does the Act impact on them in any way?

A: The NIH only pays 8% overheads, so yes, the projects fall under the Act. The NIH does permit UCT to own the IP arising from the project, which is the default position of the Act, so there is no conflict.

Q: I am planning to use THRIP to increase the funds available for a project that I am doing for an SMME. The SMME want to own the IP arising from the project. Is this an issue?

A: As Government funding is being used on the project, it will fall under the scope of the Act and UCT will own the IP. The SMME may, however, negotiate an exclusive license to access the IP. Access is really important, not necessarily ownership. Whilst the terms of the license agreement need to be market related, the financial contribution made by he SMME will be taken into consideration.

There is scope for application to be made to NIPMO to obtain permission to assign the IP to the SMME at the end of the project once the IP has been protected. The application will require special motivation to indicate why an exclusive license will not suffice

Q: I will be doing a project for an international donor. Their terms do not permit one to patent and all findings must enter the public domain. How will this be handled?

A: At the time of preparing the research contract, this requirement will need to be forwarded to the National IP Management Office (NIPMO) for their approval of these condictions. RC&I will manage this referral process.

Q: What happens to the money charged to a funder for a GOB staff-member?

A: For tax compliance, the amounts allocated to salaries must leave the research fund. It is likely that the money recovered on a project for GOB staff will be transferred into a Fund managed by the Dean or Faculty. The funds can then be redistributed based on the faculty policy.

Q: A funder funds a research project that is supervised and worked on by Prof. X. They pay for all materials and for the time of technical officers. Can the funder claim the IP?

A: No. Prof. X's time is not covered and no overheads are included, so the project is not at "full cost". The project falls within scope of Act as there is inherent government subsidisation, i.e. there does not need to be direct contribution of money by government.

Note that the funder could access the IP via an exclusive license.