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Collaborative Research Rule

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) The University of New England encourages its researchers to collaborate with other researchers within and outside the University under the general principles of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, such that research is conducted consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements, with the UNE Code of Conduct for Research and other UNE policies and rules, and with the policies and requirements of collaborating institutions.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) This Policy covers formal research collaborations between staff at UNE and staff at other institutions, as per the Definitions section of this Rule where a written agreement between the partner institutions on the management of such a joint research project is required. Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) are covered under separate arrangements.

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Section 3 - Policy


(3) Collaborative research, in this context, refers to research undertaken by staff at the University of New England who are sharing knowledge and working with researchers from outside the University, to realise shared goals.

(4) Collaborative research can serve to complement and expand existing research strengths and capability to enable research opportunities to be more fully exploited.

The Agreement

(5) A written agreement is required to establish formal research collaboration with another institution, and should be in place prior to the project's commencement.

(6) The formal agreement between UNE and the collaborating institution(s) should include details about which institutions will meet the reporting requirements to relevant agencies. Where a UNE staff member is the primary researcher, UNE will normally have primary reporting responsibilities.

Ethics and Safety

(7) Ethics and Safety clearances must be obtained from the relevant UNE Ethics Committee/s and the ethics committee/s of collaborating institution/s prior to commencement of the research, consistent with the requirements of the National Statement for Ethical Conduct in Research and the Australian Code and Practice for the Care and Use of Animals.

(8) All research undertaken at UNE must meet the requirements of legislation and University policies pertaining to Work Health and Safety.

Commercial Returns

(9) Where it is anticipated that there will be commercial returns resulting from a collaborative research project, the formal agreement between partner institutions to the project must include details about distribution of those returns, and must be consistent with the UNE Commercial Activities Rule.

Data Management and Intellectual Property

(10) Management of research materials and data will be consistent with the UNE Research Data Management Policy.

(11) The arrangement for shared access to research materials and data must be negotiated prior to commencement of the research project and must be included in the formal written agreement and documented as required under UNE policy.

(12) Each collaborating institution will identify a person from their institution who is to be involved in the management of research data, primary materials and other items to be retained at the end of the project.

(13) Where the primary researcher for a joint research project is a UNE staff member, as per the Definitions section of this policy, UNE will normally be the holder of the research materials and data. If UNE is not the holder of the research materials and data, the holder and subsequent repository of the research materials and data must be recorded in the Research Metadata store as required under UNE policy.

(14) Management of knowledge assets and intellectual property, including copyright, will be consistent with the UNE Knowledge Assets and Intellectual Property Policy. It is essential that the formal agreement between UNE and a collaborating organisation include identification of creators, and distribution and ownership of Knowledge Assets before, during and after the conclusion of a collaborative research project.


(15) The nature and scope of confidentiality requirements must be agreed upon by the collaborating researchers and documented in the formal agreement between institutions and all confidentiality requirements under relevant legislation, agreements, research ethics requirements and other relevant professional standards must be met.

(16) Confidential materials must be stored securely and researchers who are given access to confidential materials must maintain that confidentiality and use the information only in ways that are consistent with ethical and legal requirements and agreed to by those who gave the information.

(17) When a UNE researcher uses data which is held outside UNE, details of the source of the data, arrangements for its storage and the agreement, including any confidentiality issues, with the holding institution must be lodged on the UNE research data management system.

Dissemination of Research Outcomes

(18) The means by which research outcomes will be disseminated must be agreed upon and written into the agreement between the collaborating institutions.

(19) The UNE staff members who are involved in the collaborative research project must comply with the UNE Research Authorship Policy.

(20) In disseminating research outcomes, all collaborating researchers must adhere to confidentiality, knowledge assets and intellectual property conditions agreed to under the formal agreement between the collaborating institutions, and any other relevant legislative, industry or professional requirements.

Conflict of Interests

(21) Researchers involved in collaborative research projects need to be aware when a potential conflict of interest may arise and are required to disclose and manage conflicts of interest arising in collaborative research, as required under the UNE Conflicts of Interest Policy and Procedures.

Authority and Compliance

(22) The Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, pursuant to Section 29 of the University of New England Act 1993 (NSW), makes this University Rule.

(23) UNE Representatives and Students must observe it in relation to University matters.

(24) The Rule Administrator, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research is authorised to make policies and associated information for the operation of this University Rule. The policies and associated information must be compatible with the provisions of this Rule.

(25) This Rule operates as and from the Effective Date.

(26) Previous policy and related documents regarding collaborative research are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Rule.

(27) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Rule, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer may approve an exception to this Rule where the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer determines the application of the Rule would otherwise lead to an unfair, unreasonable or absurd outcome. Approvals by the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer under this clause must be documented in writing and must state the reason for the exception.

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Section 4 - Definitions

For the purposes of this Rule the following definitions apply.

(28) Formal research collaborations are those which are likely to involve the need for institutional approvals for the lodgement of funding applications or other formal agreements with third parties, or which may involve the expenditure of funds or the use of resources beyond the normal discretion of individual academics to make as part of their research activities. Research collaboration between individual academics to produce scholarly outputs are not considered to be formal research collaborations for the purpose of this policy.

(29) Institution refers to a legal organisation, which may or not be another higher education provider, a business, a community or government organisation or an industry, whose staff may collaborate with UNE staff.

(30) Primary researcher refers to the lead or chief investigator.

(31) Research is defined in the Australian Research Council ERA 2010 Submission Guidelines as:

  1. the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way such as to develop new concepts, methodologies and understandings, and could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative.

(32) Staff - see UNE Representative.