Checklist for research involving students and industry partners

1. RMIT’S Intellectual property policy

The IP policy states that IP created by a student in the course of his/her studies at RMIT will be owned by the student. Where a student is involved in a project or specific commission in respect of which RMIT has provided funds, equipment, facilities, or supervision the University may require the student, before commencing the project, to formally assign to RMIT his/her interest in any IP which may be created as a result of such involvement.

If you have an industry partner expecting to own project IP, you must have your student:

(a) assign their IP to RMIT;

(b) before commencement of the project,

so that RMIT can then assign the rights to the industry partner.

2. What does each party want?


Industry Partner:

Do they want to own the project intellectual property?

Do they want rights over RMIT’s background IP?

Do they want rights over outcomes that will include student work?

Do they only want a licence to use/ commercialise the outcomes?



Are the arrangements in accordance with RMIT’s IP Policy? If not, you will need PV-C approval for any waiver.

Do we want to own the project IP?

If we are going to assign IP, has that been included in the finding/costing calculation?

Are the students’ rights protected (publication, thesis examination, confidentiality)?

Is RMIT’s background IP protected?

If the industry partner is to own the project IP, does RMIT have a licence to use it for internal research and teaching?

What is going to happen if the IP is commercialised?

What is the commercialised IP worth? (Discuss with R & D Section)

Does the industry partner seek a waiver of moral rights, and if so, what is the University’s position.



Can the student get his/her thesis examined, can they publish, are they bound by confidentiality provisions?

Is the student aware that they are under any restrictions and have they agreed to restrictions? (N.B. it is possible students need independent legal advice.)

Are there moral rights issues – is the industry partner seeking a waiver of moral rights and does the student agree?

3. Do you need an assignment from student?

If it has been agreed that the industry partner is to own the IP, you need internal approval and an agreement under which the student assigns their rights to RMIT so that RMIT can in turn assign them to the industry partner. Contact the Legal Office for an agreement.

4. An example of an assignment agreement

An example of the Student Participation Agreement (PDF 88KB, 5p), which assigns IP to the University.

5. Instructing Legal Services


Complete and send to us a signed client request form (available on this web site)


We need to receive your clear instructions telling us what has been agreed with the industry partner bearing in mind RMIT’s IP policy and any approvals you need to acquire. If your arrangements are not in accordance with the IP policy but you do not want them altered, you should provide something (brief) in writing to our Office explaining in what way the arrangement departs from the IP policy, and why in your view that is satisfactory in your particular case (e.g. no valuable IP will be created). You will need to let us know what you have arranged with the student.


We will either draft an agreement or advise on an agreement provided to us by the industry partner (through you) and you will negotiate with the industry partner based on the advice received

6. Legal Services website

You should be aware that there are template documents and information papers on our website covering IP issues/commercial negotiations. In particular, we have a commercial negotiation kit which outlines some issues that often arise in commercial negotiations. The kit also includes some basic terms and conditions of the type you might encounter when discussing agreements. Relevant RMIT policies are linked (e.g. IP policy, delegations authority).