Technology Development

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)

A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is a written agreement between a private company and a government agency to work together on a project. It’s one of the principal mechanisms used by federal labs to engage in collaborative efforts with non-federal partners to achieve the goals of technology transfer. The government laboratories provide equipment, personnel expertise, facilities, or other resources with or without reimbursement but the government doesn’t provide any funding to the non-federal partners. The non-federal partners provide personnel, funds, services, facilities, equipment, or other resources to conduct specific research or development efforts that are consistent with the mission of the laboratory.

Definition: A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is a written agreement between one or more federal laboratories and one or more non-federal parties under which the government, through its laboratories, provides personnel, facilities, equipment, or other resources with or without reimbursement.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) Intent

The intent of a CRADA is to be a flexible mechanism that can be adapted to a variety of types of collaborative efforts between federal and non-federal organizations and that can be implemented relatively easily within a relatively short time. As a technology transfer mechanism, the CRADA is an extremely useful tool in moving federally funded R&D into the private sector.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) Purpose

The purpose of a CRADA is to make available Government technology, facilities, intellectual property, personnel, and expertise to non-federal parties for collaboration that lead to useful, marketable products that benefit the public.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) Authorization

The authorization for the use of CRADAs is established under 15 U.S.C. 3710a.

Website: TITLE 15 > 63 > 3710a “Cooperative Research and Development Agreements”

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) Rules

A CRADA is an agreement between one or more private companies and a government agency to work together under certain rules that are:

  • The government laboratories can provide personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property, or other resources to the private company’s research efforts.
  • The Government can’t provide any funding
  • A private company may provide funds, personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property, or other resources toward the conduct of specified research or development efforts that are consistent with the missions of the bureau.
  • Any property and equipment provided under technology transfer mechanisms will be provided in accordance with established property management policies and procedures.

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Benefits of Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)

There are multiple benefits associated with a CRADA that are:

  • Provide incentives that help speed the commercialization of federally-developed technology.
  • Protect any proprietary information brought to the CRADA effort by the partner.
  • Allow all parties to the CRADA to keep research results emerging from the CRADA confidential and free from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act for up to 5 years.
  • Allow the government and the partner to share patents and patent licenses.
  • Permit one partner to retain exclusive rights to a patent or patent license.

The CRADA is also intended to take into account the needs and desires of the private industry when commercializing a product (e.g., the need for confidentiality and perhaps for exclusive rights to a product), as well as a reward structure for government initiators (e.g., sharing in royalties).

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) Sponsorship

CRADAs establish the terms of sponsored collaborative research, generally with non-federal industry partners, and are specifically designed to protect the parties’ prior inventions while allowing the government and private sector research partner(s) to negotiate management of any new discovery or intellectual property that may result from the collaboration.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) Eligibility

A CRADA can involve one or more of the following.

  • Private corporations
  • Nonprofit and not-for-profit institutions
  • U.S. State and local governments
  • Other U.S. federal agencies

Difference Between Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and Cooperative Agreement

A Cooperative Agreement is a legal instrument used to enter into the same kind of relationship as a grant, except that substantial involvement is expected between the DoD and the recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated by the cooperative agreement.  A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is a mechanism used by federal laboratories to engage in collaborative efforts with non-federal partners to achieve a technical goal but the government provides no funds.

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Updated: 8/27/2022

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