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Managing Federally Funded Research: Publication Rights, FCOIs, Collaborations

Say you—or your colleagues in your organization—are experts at managing federal grants. But what about procurement contracts from the government that fall under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)?

According to Scott Sheffler, it will “eventually happen” that a research organization is presented with a procurement contract.

“When you get that first procurement contract and you’re thinking, ‘Well, I’ve been a grantee for ages. What do I need to do,’” organizational officials might reason there are few additional requirements.

Not so, said Sheffler, a partner with Feldesman Tucker Leifer and Fidel LLP.

During a webinar earlier this year, Sheffler described how managing research awards differ from oversight of service delivery awards.[1] He addressed what he called five areas of concern or “friction points.” An article in the November issue of RRC addressed the first two—federal grants management parameters (and potential research flexibilities) and human subjects research.[2]

In addition to covering procurement-related issues, this article addresses the other three friction points: data rights and intellectual property, financial conflicts of interest and collaborative research.

Those with grant experience may discover they have more contact with the contract-awarding agency than they were used to.

With a procurement contract, the funding agency may exercise “involvement in the day-to-day direction of the research,” Sheffler said. “With a grant, at least theoretically, there wouldn’t be, though agencies [sometimes] ignore these distinctions and pass-through entities ignore these distinctions as well.”

In contrast to grants that might not have explicit requirements, on the “federal procurement side, it’s very easy to determine what all of the terms and conditions are because they’re right there in the agreement,” Sheffler said.

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