Use of R&D providers and sub-contractors

In the Research Council’s General Terms and Conditions, an R&D provider is defined as an entity that, pursuant to the agreement document, will deliver R&D work on assignment for the Project Owner and/or any collaborating partners.

The role of R&D provider is normally only relevant for innovation projects where actors from trade and industry are Project Owners. In order to know if you can include an R&D provider in your project, you must read the relevant call for proposals to see whether or not the call allows for the use of the role.

The role of R&D provider is normally held by a research organisation. Research organisations that are involved in projects as R&D providers should not be defined as collaborating partners, but should be listed with the role of R&D provider in the grant application. The role entails that they will deliver R&D work on assignment. The R&D provider is important in the assessment of the project since it will often carry out a large proportion of the R&D work in the project. This is the reason for the requirement in the General Terms and Conditions that the R&D provider, like a partner, cannot be replaced without the prior approval of the Research Council.

The work a research organisation conducts as an R&D provider will be contract research, and thus part of the research organisation’s economic activity. In order to avoid awarding indirect state aid to a client, the research organisation must charge the market price for the work. Where a market price is not available, the price must cover the full costs of the work plus a profit margin.

The name of the R&D provider must be provided in the application.

The main difference between an R&D provider and a subcontractor is related to the nature and scope of their respective assignments. An R&D provider delivers extensive R&D work that is decisive to the implementation of the project, is designated in the agreement between the Research Council and the Project Owner and cannot be replaced without the Research Council’s consent. The R&D provider can be a Norwegian or foreign organisation. In addition to the above, the following applies to R&D providers:

  • An R&D provider is a project partner, but not a collaborating partner in an R&D project. R&D providers must be listed as project partners in applications to the Research Council.
  • An R&D provider is usually a research organisation, but can also be a company or other entity that delivers R&D services.
  • The R&D provider’s contribution to the project is to be regulated by an R&D assignment agreement between the Project Owner and/or collaborating partners and the R&D provider. The Research Council must receive a copy of such agreements for the contract between the Research Council and the Project Owner to be valid.
  • The rights to the results of the work generally pass to the client. However, if it is agreed that certain rights to the project results shall pass to the R&D provider, this should be reflected in the price for the work.
  • If the R&D provider is a research organisation, the Research Council assumes that the organisation will be permitted to freely disseminate research results that are of no commercial interest to the Project Owner and the collaborating partners, and to carry out further research based on the project’s research results.
  • If a doctoral thesis is included in the R&D provider’s work on the project, restrictions cannot be placed on its publication, except in cases where it has been agreed in advance to postpone the date of publication.

The following applies to subcontractors:

  • Subcontractors are not project partners and do not have to be listed in the application or contract documents.
  • Subcontractors cannot be granted any rights to project results.
  • In principle, the Project Owner and the collaborating partners are free to hire subcontractors and, if relevant, change subcontractors within the framework of the contract.

Organisations that are subject to the regulations governing public procurements must, in the normal manner, select subcontractors in accordance with these regulations.

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Do you have any questions? See our page on collaboration agreements.

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