Research and Innovation Support - Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA’s)

Office of the Vice-President for Research

Non-Disclosure Agreement (nda’s)

NDA's are a legal means of protecting confidential information between parties. They are a frequent early step in developing a relationship with a company - whether the final result is research project funding and/or licensing relationship. There are a variety of reasons why information may be subject to a confidentiality agreement, including for example: -

  • External organisations may be providing the University with information that can be used in research, but in its raw form is confidential.
  • A Company may be looking to work with the University and needing help on a new development that it wants to keep secret.
  • A research team at the University may be considering patenting an invention but may want to talk to possible sponsors/collaborators.
  • A company may be undecided about sponsoring research and the team may wish to discuss their ideas without revealing them to the company if they don't sponsor the research.

In all of these circumstances, and others, a confidentiality agreement, which sets out what will be treated as confidential, and how it should be looked after as such can be used. This can be accomplished by either: -

  1. DCU providing a Non-Disclosure Agreement which is signed by the relevant parties thereby, allowing either side to discuss information in confidence. This allows for more open and productive discussions as well as protecting the IP generated by the research group from being used without authorization or
  2. The external parties providing a Non-Disclosure or Confidentiality Agreement for DCU to sign

In either case above it is important that you contact the OVPR to ensure that all agreements are checked and signed by the OVPR on behalf of DCU to protect individual researchers and the University.

Please note: -
Information received in confidence cannot, without specific written permission, be used in publications. This includes a thesis or presenting at a conference. For this reason sponsors/collaborators may wish to review publications before they are submitted to ensure that confidential information has not been included.

Sometimes sponsors will want the results of a sponsored research project to be kept confidential. This of course poses problems for publications and for students working on the project. Therefore such requests cannot be accepted without specific provision allowing publication. Sometimes a compromise such as agreeing to delay publication for a defined time period is included in the Collaborative Research Agreement. The OVPR will provide appropriate advice if required.

It is very important that everyone working on a project understands the arrangements for confidential information and for publication.

Non-disclosure agreements (also known as Confidentiality Agreements (CDA's)

Conditions of Use: -

  • A Non-Disclosure Agreement is to be used when a member of staff is providing confidential information to an external party, and is also receiving confidential information from the same party.
  • The agreement needs to be executed by both parties. The Vice-President for Research or Director of the Office of the Vice-President for Research are the only authorised signatories on behalf of the University.
  • Copies of all fully executed agreements must be forwarded to the OVPR