Get Innovative with R&D Using CRADAs

The government contracting landscape is awash in a sea of acronyms, many familiar and others popping up every day. For companies engaged in R&D or technology commercialization, CRADAs (Cooperative Research and Development Agreements) may be worth investigating. CRADAs are flexible tools used by universities, companies, and others to collaborate with federal laboratories. Through this creative mechanism, parties can mutually access each other’s expertise, resources and facilities.

A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is an agreement between a Federal laboratory and a non-Federal party to perform collaborative research and development in any area that is consistent with the Federal laboratory’s mission. CRADAs are the most frequently used mechanism for formalizing interactions and partnerships between private industry and research labs and the only mechanism for receiving funds from non-Federal sources for collaborative work. Under the statute that authorizes CRADAs (15 U.S.C. 3710a), a Federal laboratory may provide personnel, services, facilities, and equipment (but no funds) to the joint R&D effort; a non-Federal party may provide funds, in addition to personnel, services, facilities, and equipment to the joint R&D effort.

A CRADA defines the tasks to be done within an area of collaboration and grants the Government a Government purpose license and the non-Federal party a non-exclusive, paid-up, royalty-free license for internal use of any patents that result from the CRADA research. The non-Federal party is also granted an option to negotiate either an exclusive or nonexclusive commercial license within a field of use, subject to Government-purpose rights. The CRADA also provides protection of proprietary information.

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