Research agreements with confidentiality clauses: Handle with care

Some of you may not be aware that it is indeed possible to enter into research agreements that contain confidentiality provisions. The UW does allow such provisions in research agreements, though they must be carefully negotiated by our team in Research and Sponsored Programs in order to adhere to state statutes and university rules.
An example of a research agreement that includes confidentiality provisions might be where a company would like to have a proprietary product evaluated or tested, but does not want the formulation of the product to be disclosed publicly. Of course, the researchers would retain the right to publish their results, but the confidentiality of the formulation would be maintained for a certain period of time, as agreed to by the sponsor and the UW.

The CALS Research Division can assist you with questions about proposed research agreements that contain confidentiality clauses or provisions. Please contact us for such assistance by routing your proposed agreement or terms to us, along with a transmittal form signed by the PI and department chair. You may also want to contact us informally with questions before such routing takes place. Ultimately, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will negotiate these clauses with the sponsor.If you have questions, please contact Irwin Goldman at or Gail Stirr at