In all cases where it is possible, it is advisable to discuss collaborative projects undertaken with third parties with ETH transfer so that the ensuing agreements safeguard the interests of the researchers and ETH Zurich and, crucially, comply with ETH Zurich regulations, which is a critical aspect in the approval process. Please contact the responsible person at ETH transfer and clearly describe your needs.
According to Art. 108 of the “Finanzreglement der ETH Zürich” all contractual agreements that involve money transfer of CHF 10’000 or more, that may create any liabilities for ETH, or that grant any rights to intellectual property to a third party, have to be concluded in writing. Additionally, in many cases where these criteria are not fulfilled, it is still advisable to conclude an agreement in writing.
The total costs for sponsored research projects are
made up of direct and indirect costs.
The direct costs can include:
The ETH Zurich levies the overhead charges on contracts with third parties (e.g. companies, institutes). These overhead charges are broken down into a contribution to the infrastructure of the ETH Zurich (e.g. use of the laboratories, offices, equipment, library and administration), as well as, where appropriate, an additional surcharge on projects wherein the partner intends to obtain rights to the intellectual property in advance (IP surcharge).
For Research Collaboration Agreements and for Service Agreements the indirect costs of the project have to be included into the budget by adding 10% (infrastructure contribution) on top of the direct costs. In the event that the contracting party intends to acquire exclusive rights to all or part of the intellectual property rights from the project, an additional overhead of 35% (IP surcharge) will be added on top of the direct costs to the infrastructure contribution (for a total of 45% overheads in such a case). Please find an example of a budget calculation here.
Public agencies such as the SNF, CTI, NIH and the EU have separate standard rules for salaries and overheads that must be followed.
Contracts with federal offices do not have a standard overhead rate, please contact ETH transfer for further information in specific cases.
Swiss Value Added Tax (VAT): Payments for research agreements may be subject to Swiss VAT. You will find information about this in the “Wegleitung Mehrwertsteuer ETH Zürich” (in German) (to be found on www.rechtssammlung.ethz.ch using the term “Mehrwertsteuer” in the search engine), as well as in the “Branchen-Info 25 Forschung und Entwicklung” of the Eidgenössische Steuerverwaltung, or please direct your questions to email@example.com.
Elected professors of ETH Zurich (but not honorary professors) are authorized to sign research agreements in the name of ETH Zurich. If necessary or desired, they can authorize in writing another employee of ETH Zurich to sign such agreements. However, it is important to note that, as regulated in the Research Contract Guidelines, some research agreements need to be approved by the Vice President for Research and Corporate Relations (VPFW). For example., all research agreements in which ETH Zurich will receive funding of CHF 50’000 or more need the approval of the VPFW. Please send such agreements, including all relevant attachments such as project description, proposal, budget, etc., as soon as possible to the responsible person at ETH transfer. These agreements will be reviewed by the responsible person at ETH transfer, and once the agreement complies with ETH regulations it will be forwarded to the VPFW for authorization and signature.
Please also note that all Licensing and Option Agreements, as well as all CTI-Supplementary Agreements need the approval of the VPFW, independent of the monetary volume. For research agreements in which the ETH Zurich is contracting another party (eg subcontracting a portion of the work), and the ETH Zurich is therefore spending money, the provisions of Art. 69 of the Financial Regulations of the ETH Zurich (to be found on www.rechtssammlung.ethz.ch using the term “Financial Regulations” in the search engine) need to be adhered to.
report all research agreements that do not need the approval of the VPFW after
signature to ETH transfer electronically or as paper copies.
It is advisable, and for many projects mandatory, to operate a third-party-funded project via a separate account (Fonds). Fonds for projects with a budget of less than CHF 50’000 can be applied for by sending a completed and signed form (“Fondseröffnungsformular”) directly to the Sektion Fondsbewirtschaftung, Abteilung Rechnungswesen, along with a copy of the signed research agreement. For research agreements with a monetary volume of CHF 50’000 or more, ETH transfer will initiate the opening of a Fonds after the agreement has been approved by the VPFW. Please send such agreements, including all relevant supporting documentation such as project description, proposal, budget, etc., as soon as possible to the responsible person at ETH transfer for review and signature.
The responsible unit at ETH Zurich – normally the respective professorship – is responsible for all matters in relation with conducting the research project, including the compliance of the project team to the terms of the agreement, as well as all administrative matters, such as invoicing the third party.
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