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Working with Industry


Funding agreements with industry sponsors must be negotiated to accurately reflect the costs and value of the research (including indirect costs) that will be conducted. Companies may ask for work to be completed for a limited amount of funding or ask to reduce the proposed budget without reducing the scope of work.  If the company thereafter proposes a reduced budget without amending or adjusting the project scope, the university will be subsidizing the industry research project.

Tips for negotiating industry funded agreements:

  • Separate research scope and budget, decide independently. An industry sponsored project should start with the PI and an industry representative discussing the project scope.  When possible, the estimate of cost should occur after a scope is fully developed and agreed. 
  • Agree to and document a clear scope of work. In an industry agreement, the SOW is an agreement among the project team. The SOW relates the project to scientific objectives and sets the boundaries of the project in multiple dimensions. These dimensions include approach, deliverables, milestones, and budget.
  • For budgets – less is more. Industry sponsors do not always require a detailed line item budget. Oftentimes agreement can be reached by providing the total fixed cost of the research as scoped. It may be beneficial to provide a budget based on milestones, objective completion, or total price.  These budget approaches do not require a specific line item for indirect costs.  Indirect should be built into the total cost estimate in any method chosen. 

Example – Convert a university budget to industry budget. Indirect costs of activities are built into the price of goods and services. Fully burdened budgets where indirect costs are directly applied are universal. This means every budget line item in an industry budget reflects the full costs of the proposed work. Consider the following example, where the bottom-line ends up the same despite the different approaches:

Salary $12,000 Option # 1 (best option)
Frige (25%) $3,000 TOTAL Project Cost $30,000
Subtotal $15,000
Option #2 (good option)
Supplies $5,000 Salary $22,500
F&A (IDC) rate of 50% $10,000 Supplies $7,500
TOTAL Project cost $30,000 TOTAL Project cost $30,000

 UTA Sponsored Research Agreement Template. UTA posts an agreement template (SRA, here) that includes a place (a blank Attachment A) to fully describe a project in as much detail as may be needed (e.g., Statement of Work, or SOW). Frequently asked questions regarding the SRA can be found (here), and why and how we structure our agreement, clause by clause is provided in our UTA Grants and Contracts Guide for Industry (here).



This guide is a summary of the general policies applicable to research agreements between The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and private industry. These policies reflect UTA’s position as a publicly supported educational institution, policies of The University of Texas System (System) and the Texas Board of Regents. The goal of this guide is to facilitate negotiations and give a basic understanding to sponsoring agencies and UTA faculty the reasoning behind recommended language for UTA to enter into sponsored research agreements. These guidelines are designed primarily to clarify relationships and obligations between UTA and private industry.

The language provided in this guide is NOT MANDATORY and UTA does have flexibility in negotiating the terms of a sponsor offered agreement. UTA is a great opportunity for sponsors to take advantage of research at a reduced cost. UTA’s diverse faculty and research expertise naturally expound innovation and collaboration possibilities that could provide sponsors the technological winning edge in the marketplace. Sponsors however, should keep in mind the University is a non-profit organization and may be unable to enter into agreements the Sponsor is accustomed to in other industry agreements.



Identifying UTA

Defining the Research Program

Why does UTA need advance payments from research sponsors?
What are the obligations in a termination?


Publicity Restrictions?

What is required in publication?
How are sponsor interests protected in publication?

How is confidential information protected?

What are UTA patents disclosure requirements?
Does a sponsor own UTA intellectual property?
Does a sponsor own joint intellectual property?
What are the Goals of UTA patent policy?
What is the purpose of UTA licensing?
Can intellectual property be licensed or royalty rates established before an invention exists?
What are the considerations for a license?
What are UTA copyright disclosure requirements?

Indemnity requirements
Can a sponsor require insurance?






 UTA faculty members are encouraged to engage in appropriate outside professional relationships with private industry. Such activities facilitate the transfer of technology to improve the well-being and productivity of society and offer research opportunities through which the faculty member can make a contribution to knowledge. Initial discussions between sponsor representatives and UTA faculty are encouraged since this is necessary to confirm mutual interest. While initial discussions between industry sponsors and UTA faculty or senior research staff occur in a variety of ways, no project may be established or undertaken unless a carefully defined research proposal (Statement of Work), including a budget, has been submitted through UTA’s Office of Grant and Contract Services, endorsed with the appropriate institutional signature, and an acceptable funding agreement has been negotiated and signed by authorized representatives. UTA faculty (including Deans and Chairpersons) do not have the authority to legally bind UTA into a sponsored research agreement. UTA policies pertaining to the protection of human subjectsbiosafetyoccupational and environmental protection, and animal welfare are applicable to all research conducted at UTA.

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This Sponsored Research Agreement (the "Agreement") is made between The University of Texas at Arlington, 701 S. Nedderman, Box 19145, Arlington, Texas 76019-0145 ("University"), a State Institution of Higher Education established under the laws of the State of Texas as an institution of The University of Texas System ("System"), and ____________, a corporation with its principal place of business at __________ ("Sponsor").


 UTA is an institution in The University of Texas System, an entity created by Texas Statute as a public university system governed by a Board of Regents. All research agreements must be issued using UTA’s name: “The University of Texas at Arlington, a State Institution of Higher Education established under the laws of the State of Texas as an insitution of The University of Texas System”.

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a. University will use its own facilities and its reasonable best efforts to conduct the research program described in Attachment A ("Research Program") under the direction of __________ or [his or her] successor as mutually agreed to by the parties (the "Principal Investigator").
b. The Research Program shall be carried out from the Effective Date through and including __________ (the "Term"). The parties may extend the Research Program under mutually agreeable terms. 
c. Sponsor understands that University's primary mission is education and advancement of knowledge and the Research Program will be designed to carry out that mission. The manner of performance of the Research Program shall be determined solely by the Principal Investigator. University does not guarantee specific results.
d. Sponsor understands that University may be involved in similar research through other researchers on behalf of itself and others. University shall be free to continue such research provided that it is conducted separately and by different investigators from the Research Program, and Sponsor shall not gain any rights via this Agreement to other research. 
e. University does not guarantee that any intellectual property will result from the Research Program, that any resulting intellectual property will be free of dominance by other' rights, including rights based on inventions made by other inventors in the System independently of the Research Program.


 The Research Program should be specific and narrowly defined to ensure UTA meets the expectations of the sponsor and continue a successful relationship.

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a. As consideration for University's performance, Sponsor will pay the University an amount equal to its expenditures and reasonable overhead in conducting the Research Program subject to a maximum expenditure limitation of $___. An initial payment of $___ shall be made upon execution of this Agreement, and subsequent payments shall be made as follows:
b. Sponsor will make payments to The University of Texas at Arlington, referencing the Principal Investigator and Research Program title, to the following address:

Grant Accounting
The University of Texas at Arlington
Box 19136
Arlington, TX 76019

c. The Principal Investigator may transfer funds within the budget as needed without Sponsor's approval so long as the scope of work under the Research Program remains unchanged. 
d. University shall retain title to all equipment purchased and/or fabricated by it with funds provided by Sponsor under this Agreement. 


Contracts with sponsors are performed on a no-fee or no-profit basis of full cost recovery. Research projects include both direct costs and full indirect (facilities and administrative) costs at UTA’s federally negotiated rate. Receipt by UTA of advanced funding in an appropriate amount is necessary since UTA does not have a designated source of funds with which to finance sponsored research or to pay the interest on funds borrowed for that purpose. The schedule of payments is negotiable depending on type and scope of project, length of the project period, and anticipated pace and pattern of actual expenditures. The Principal Investigator has the responsibility for conducting the research and for assuring that only proper costs are charged to the project account.

Since research by its nature is unpredictable and without guarantee of successful results, UTA research is conducted on a reasonable effort basis. Because of the no-fee or no-profit basis, UTA will not accept contract provisions that will guarantee results, impose penalties for failure to make progress by firm deadlines, or provide for withholding of payment if the sponsor is not satisfied with the results. However, research projects are organized in a manner sensitive to the differing time constraints of sponsors.


In the event a funding agreement is terminated by the sponsor for any reason, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse UTA for all costs incurred to the date of termination and for all uncancellable obligations.

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a. Sponsor's designated representative for communications with the Principal Investigator shall be ______ or any other person Sponsor may designate in writing to University and the Principal Investigator ("Designated Representative"). 
b. The Principal Investigator will make up to _____ oral reports and one written report summarizing the work completed each year of the Research Program. The Principal Investigator shall also submit a comprehensive final report within one hundred twenty (120) days after termination of the Agreement. The [Office of Accounting] will submit a financial report of related Research Program expenses within ninety (90) days after termination.

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Neither party will reference the other in a press release or any other oral or written statement in connection with the Research Program and its results intended for use in the public media, except as required by the Texas Public Information Act or other law or regulation. University, however, may acknowledge Sponsor's support of the Research Program in scientific or academic publications or communications without Sponsor's prior approval. In any permitted statements, the parties shall describe the scope and nature of their participation accurately and appropriately.


It is UTA’s policy that under no circumstances shall a sponsor be permitted to state or imply in any publication or other published announcement that UTA has approved any product that is or might be manufactured, sold, or otherwise distributed. UTA also requires that its name not be used in connection with any advertisement, press release, or other form of business promotion or publicity, or refer to a research agreement, without prior written approval.

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a. The Principal Investigator has the right to publish or otherwise publicly disclose information gained in the course of the Research Program. In order to avoid loss of patent rights as a result of premature public disclosure of patentable information, University will submit any prepublication materials to Sponsor for review and comment at least sixty (60) days prior to planned submission for publication. Sponsor shall notify University within thirty (30) days of receipt of such materials whether they describe any inventions or discoveries subject to the parties' rights under Section 8. University will use its’ reasonable efforts to protect Sponsor’s patent rights, but University shall have the final authority to determine the scope and content of any publications.

b. University investigators may discuss the Research Program with other investigators for scientific or research purposes but shall not reveal information which is Sponsor's Confidential Information under Article 7. If any joint inventions result from such discussion, University shall grant Sponsor the rights set forth in Section 8, to the extent these are not in conflict with obligations to another party as a result of the involvement of the other investigator(s). In this latter case, University shall, in good faith, exercise reasonable efforts to enable Sponsor to obtain rights to the joint invention. 


A fundamental principle of UTA, as a non-profit educational institution, is that the teaching and research environment should be open to promote the exchange of ideas among faculty and students. UTA’s research activities are conducted as an integral part of the total educational program, and these activities often form the basis for articles in professional journals, seminar reports, presentations at professional meetings, and student dissertations and theses. Therefore, UTA will undertake research or studies only if scientific results can be published or otherwise promptly disseminated. If publication rights are not maintained, UTA becomes subject to the Unrelated Business Income Tax and may be required to pay 35% of the award monies received to the IRS. UTA will not jeopardize our tax- exempt status. 


As a public institution of Higher Education, Freedom to publish and disseminate results is a major criterion of the appropriateness of any research project at UTA. UTA policy precludes assigning to extramural sources the right to keep or make final decisions about what may be published. A sponsor may seek a short reasonable delay, however, in order to comment upon and to review publications for disclosure of its proprietary data or for potentially filing patentable inventions. Such a delay in publication should normally be no more than 60 days. While UTA must retain publication rights, sponsors can be assured the freedom to publish is not an obligation to publish.

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 a. The parties may wish to disclose confidential information to each other in connection with work contemplated by this Agreement ("Confidential Information"). Each party will use reasonable efforts to prevent the disclosure of the other party's Confidential Information to third parties for a period of three (3) years after the termination of this Agreement, provided that the recipient party's obligation shall not apply to information that:

i. is not disclosed in writing or reduced to writing and marked with an appropriate confidentiality legend within thirty (30) days after disclosure; 
ii. is already in the recipient party's possession at the time of disclosure; 
iii. is or later becomes part of the public domain through no fault of the recipient party; 
iv. is received from a third party having no obligations of confidentiality to the disclosing party; 
v. is independently developed by the recipient party; or 
vi. is required by law or regulation to be disclosed. 

b. In the event that information is required to be disclosed pursuant to subsection (vi), the party required to make disclosure shall notify the other to allow that party to assert whatever exclusions or exemptions may be available to it under such law or regulation.


Confidential information should be clearly defined and marked as “confidential”. UTA will endeavor to protect confidential or proprietary information disclosed by a sponsor to a UTA employee in accordance with reasonable terms negotiated by the parties. In most cases if confidentiality is required both UTA and the sponsor will sign a non-disclosure agreement that binds them to specific procedures to ensure confidentiality. The President has delegated the authority to execute non-disclosure agreements for UTA to the Vice President of Research.

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a. Background Intellectual Property: University may have solely developed intellectual property in its’ possession. Under no circumstances will Sponsor have any right to prior University Intellectual Property without having negotiated rights to said intellectual property in advance.

b. Research Program Intellectual Property: University retains ownership to all inventions and discoveries arising from the research of its faculty, staff, or students in accordance with the laws of inventorship whether or not such inventions are patentable. Title to all inventions and discoveries made solely by University inventors resulting from the Research Program shall reside in University; title to all inventions and discoveries made solely by Sponsor inventors resulting from the Research Program shall reside in Sponsor; title to all inventions and discoveries made jointly by University and Sponsor inventors resulting from the Research Program shall reside jointly in University and Sponsor. Sponsor and University jointly own inventions and discoveries when jointly made by an employee of the Sponsor and by faculty, staff, or students arising from collaboration in connection with the performance of any research. The sponsor and University each have the unrestricted right to use, manufacture, and sell or license its interest in joint intellectual property for any purpose whatsoever with no payment of royalties. Sponsor has an exclusive first right to negotiate an exclusive license to any joint intellectual property.

c. University will disclose to Sponsor any inventions or discoveries resulting from the Research Program as soon as possible after creation and reduction to practice. Sponsor shall notify University within thirty (30) days of receipt of disclosure whether:

1. Sponsor desires University to file patent applications on any invention, in which case Sponsor shall reimburse all University patent application filing costs, including those for patentability opinions; or
2. Sponsor desires to use its own patent counsel to file patent applications, in which case Sponsor shall be directly responsible for patent application filing but shall obtain University's prior approval of counsel and of patent applications; or
3. Sponsor does not desire that a patent application be filed in which case the rights to such invention shall be disposed of in accordance with University policies with no further obligation in Sponsor. 

d. With respect to inventions for which Sponsor has agreed to file patent application or to reimburse University's costs for filing patent applications, University grants Sponsor an option to negotiate an exclusive or non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing license to make, use or sell under any invention or discovery owned wholly or partly by University and made or conceived and reduced to practice during the Term of this Agreement or within six (6) months thereafter and directly resulting from the Research Program. If Sponsor elects an exclusive license, it will include a right to sublicense with accounting to University. Sponsor shall have three (3) months from disclosure of any invention or discovery to notify University of its desire to enter into such a license agreement, and the parties shall negotiate in good faith for a period not to exceed six (6) months after that notification, or such period of time as to which the parties shall mutually agree. If Sponsor and University fail to enter into a license agreement during that period of time, the rights to such invention or discovery shall be disposed of in accordance with University policies with no further obligation to Sponsor. 

e. Under University policy, University investigators own copyright in their scholarly works. Scholarly works resulting from the Research Program are not subject to the terms of this Section 8. 


All UTA faculty, staff, or students must disclose all potentially patentable inventions conceived or developed while employed by UTA and must assign all inventions that occur in the course and scope of their employment to The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System. Whether inventions are or are not patentable is a matter of federal patent law. Whether UTA will prosecute any specific patent is a determination to be made by UTA’s President based on a recommendation from the UTA Intellectual Property Committee. 

While all patentable inventions must be disclosed, inventions resulting from permissible consulting activities without use of UTA funds or facilities need not be assigned to UTA. Faculty should review consulting agreements carefully to ensure they do not conflict with obligations under UTA patent and other relevant policies.


The basic aim of UTA’s intellectual property policy is to promote the progress of science and technology, to assure that discoveries and inventions are used to benefit the public, and to provide recognition to the inventor(s) and UTA. As a public university system, funded in part by the taxpayers of the State of Texas, The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System retains ownership to all inventions and discoveries arising from the research of its faculty, staff, or students in accordance with the laws of inventorship whether or not such inventions are patentable. The right to negotiate a license is normally granted to the sponsor of the research. In addition, a sponsor is usually given the right to use an invention for internal research purposes.


A sponsor and UTA jointly own inventions and discoveries when jointly made by an employee of the sponsor and by faculty, staff, or students arising from collaboration in connection with the performance of any research. The sponsor and UTA each have the unrestricted right to use, manufacture, and sell or license its interest in joint intellectual property for any purpose whatsoever with no payment of royalties. The sponsor may obtain from UTA an exclusive license to any joint intellectual property.


The UTA patent policy seeks to assure balance among several objectives. The UTA patent policy facilitates the prompt and effective development of useful inventions while preventing the inappropriate use of public funds for private gain. UTA patent policy is a factor in maintaining good relations with industry to make the best use of opportunities for education and research funding while obtaining appropriate revenues for UTA from the licensing of patents.


Although the primary purpose of UTA research is not commercially applicable discoveries or inventions, UTA recognizes the need to encourage the practical application of the results of research for the public benefit. Thus, UTA maintains an active program for identifying and patenting potentially useful inventions, including computer software, for licensing to companies which have the capability of developing, manufacturing, and marketing them.

The major purposes of licensing the use of technology resulting from UTA research to industry are: 

  • Developing a mechanism for transferring, disclosing, and disseminating the results of UTA research to the public for the public benefit;
  • to meet obligations to research sponsors, and;
  • to provide support for further research and education.


A license or royalty terms cannot be established during research agreement negotiations when the intellectual property does not exist. This is because UTA, as a non-profit organization, finances research facilities through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds. UTA is required by law to ensure that bond financed facilities will not be used in a manner that would cause the interest to become taxable. IRS regulations provide specific guidance regarding the use of tax-free bond funded facilities in sponsored research agreements and private business use may invalidate this tax-exempt status. Therefore, private business use is avoided if:

  • the title to intellectual property made by UTA employees or others using UTA facilities is exclusively retained by UTA; 
  • a licensee pays a competitive price for a technology (research funding may not be considered as payment toward a license of future intellectual property), and; 
  • the value of any technology is determined at the time the intellectual property is available for licensing. 


Terms and conditions for licensing agreements should consider the nature of the technology, the stage of development of the invention, the effect on the research endeavor in question, the public benefit, and the marketplace. Agreements are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. If a company needs time to evaluate a research result, an option agreement may be negotiated to allow a limited time for a review for licensing purposes. UTA will grant the right of first notification and first right to negotiate a license to the sponsor for an exclusive or nonexclusive license, based on the level of sponsor support. Any license of a patentable invention must at least provide for reimbursement of all UTA patent costs incurred and diligent development by the licensee and, in most cases, for the payment of royalties. Agreements, options, non-exclusive licenses, and exclusive licenses must not interfere with the principle of open dissemination of research results.

For further information, please contact Intellectual Property at 817-272-1119.


In keeping with academic tradition, UTA copyright policy provides that ownership of copyrights to scholarly or aesthetic works that are prepared through independent academic effort and not as part of a directed UTA assignment (the work in question was commissioned by UTA, or the work was created under extramural support) generally reside with the author. Such scholarly or aesthetic works include, but are not limited to, books, articles, lectures, and scholarly computer software resulting from independent academic study; or artistic works such as novels, videotapes, and musical compositions. Otherwise, all rights in copyright arising from UTA employment or the use of UTA resources belong to UTA. 

All UTA faculty, staff, or students must disclose all non-scholarly copyrightable works developed while employed by UTA and must assign all rights in copyright that occur in the course and scope of their employment to UTA. Copyright registration is a determination to be made by UTA’s President based on a recommendation from the UTA Intellectual Property Committee. 
Title to the copyrightable material that is developed under a contract or grant from a commercial sponsor normally is owned by UTA. In limited cases, where the purpose of the agreement is to develop a copyrightable work for the sponsor's publication, the copyright may be assigned to the sponsor, but only if there is a provision surrendering this right to UTA after a reasonable interval of time, in the event the extramural fund source has not published within that time.

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a. Sponsor agrees to indemnify and hold harmless System, University, their Regents, officers, agents and employees from any liability, loss or damage they may suffer as a result of claims, demands, costs or judgments against them arising out of the activities to be carried out pursuant to the obligations of this Agreement, including but not limited to the use by Sponsor of the results obtained from the activities performed by University under this Agreement; provided, however, that the following is excluded from Sponsor's obligation to indemnify and hold harmless:

i. the negligent failure of University to substantially comply with any applicable governmental requirements; or 
ii. the negligence or willful malfeasance of any Regent, officer, agent or employee of University or System. 

b. Both parties agree that upon receipt of a notice of claim or action arising out of the Research Program, the party receiving such notice will notify the other party promptly. Sponsor agrees, at its own expense, to provide attorneys to defend against any actions brought or filed against University, System, their Regents, officers, agents and/or employees with respect to the subject of the indemnity contained herein, whether such claims or actions are rightfully brought or filed; and subject to the statutory duty of The Texas Attorney General, University agrees to cooperate with Sponsor in the defense of such claim or action. 


The University of Texas System requires an indemnity from a sponsor if that sponsor requires UTA to use materials, processes, or procedures for conducting sponsored research activities. Both constitutional and statutory restrictions limit the scope of UTA indemnification of sponsors to those harms resulting from UTA’s negligence in carrying out the research. The Texas Constitution prohibits UTA or any other state agency from giving an effective broad indemnity. Agreements that are drafted for use by private parties often include indemnity provisions that are not acceptable in an agreement with a state agency, and these provisions must be modified to be legally acceptable.


It is the stated policy of the State of Texas not to acquire commercial general liability insurance for torts committed by employees of the state who are acting within the scope of their employment. Rather, third parties must look to the Texas Tort Claims Act for relief with respect to property damage, personal injury, and death proximately caused by the wrongful act or omission or negligence of an employee acting within the scope of employment.

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For the purposes of this Agreement and all services to be provided hereunder, the parties shall be, and shall be deemed to be, independent contractors and not agents or employees of the other party. Neither party shall have authority to make any statements, representations or commitments of any kind, or to take any action which shall be binding on the other party, except as may be expressly provided for herein or authorized in writing.

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a. This Agreement may be terminated by the written agreement of both parties.
b. In the event that either party shall be in default of its material obligations under this Agreement and shall fail to remedy such default within sixty (60) days after receipt of written notice thereof, this Agreement shall terminate upon expiration of the sixty (60) day period. 
c. Termination or cancellation of this Agreement shall not affect the rights and obligations of the parties accrued prior to termination. Upon termination, Sponsor shall pay University for all reasonable expenses incurred or committed to be expended as of the effective termination date, including salaries for appointees for the remainder of their appointment. 
d. Any provisions of this Agreement which by their nature extend beyond termination shall survive such termination.

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Attachment A is incorporated herein and made a part of this Agreement for all purposes.

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a. This Agreement may not be assigned by either party without the prior written consent of the other party; provided, however, that subject to the approval of University, which may not be unreasonably withheld, Sponsor may assign this Agreement to any purchaser or transferee of all or substantially all of Sponsor's assets or stock upon prior written notice to University, and University may assign its right to receive payments hereunder. 
b. This Agreement constitutes the entire and only agreement between the parties relating to the Research Program, and all prior negotiations, representations, agreements and understandings are superseded hereby. No agreements altering or supplementing the terms hereof may be made except by means of a written document signed by the duly authorized representatives of the parties. 
c. Any notice required by this Agreement by Articles 8, 9, or 11 shall be given by prepaid, first class, certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed in the case of University to:

or in the case of Sponsor to: 

or at such other addresses as may be given from time to time in accordance with the terms of this notice provision. 

Notices and other communications regarding the day-to-day administration and operation of this Agreement shall be mailed (or otherwise delivered), and addressed in the case of University to:


or in the case of Sponsor to:


d. This Agreement shall be governed by, construed, and enforced in accordance with the internal laws of the State of Texas.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have caused this Agreement to be executed by their duly authorized representatives.


By____________________________ Title ________________________


By____________________________ Title_________________________

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