Leading by example


We owe our track record of success to a clear set of values and commitments that guide our activities, earning the trust of Harvard researchers and our partners at the interface of science and business.

  • Societal Impact

    Maximize the impact of new knowledge resulting from University research and discovery

  • Partnership

    Serve as a trusted and creative negotiator of fair, mutually beneficial agreements

  • Responsible Stewardship

    Serve as a responsible steward of, and an unbiased agent for, Harvard’s intellectual property

  • Academic Freedom

    Protect traditional academic freedoms, which allow knowledge to spread worldwide and enable researchers to excel

  • Community Engagement

    Foster and support the thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at Harvard and in the wider ecosystem

  • Service

    Deliver sound advice and timely service to Harvard researchers

  • Ethical Integrity

    Adhere to the highest ethical standards in all dealings and relationships

  • Reinvestment in Research

    Fuel continued innovation at Harvard by capturing fair value for the University’s technologies

Integrity in academic research

In our collaboration agreements with industry, we work on behalf of Harvard researchers to protect the integrity of academic research, thereby ensuring that University technologies are developed to their fullest potential for the public’s benefit. To this end, all research agreements drafted through OTD:

  • Are limited in duration and tied to a research plan generated by Harvard faculty
  • Safeguard Harvard researchers’ ability to publish the results of their studies
  • Secure ownership of the results of the sponsored research, thereby enabling OTD to shepherd those resources in the best interest of the public
  • Set reasonable limits on rights granted to corporate partners — no perpetual rights, “sweetheart” deals, or ability to suppress technology
  • Offer no guaranteed results or other “deliverables”; the research and any resulting IP are provided to the company on an “as is” basis
  • Reserve the rights of researchers at Harvard and elsewhere to use any resulting IP for educational and not-for-profit research purposes
 

Responsible licensing practices

In summer 2006, Harvard University joined 11 other U.S. institutions in crafting a set of considerations intended to guide the thoughtful and effective licensing of technologies to best serve the public interest. Harvard endorsed the resulting document, Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology, which has now been adopted as a set of best practices by at least 115 institutions worldwide.

Expanding on the last of the “Nine Points,” which aims to ensure that academic medical innovations benefit underserved populations, Harvard OTD and our counterpart office at Yale then led the way in developing a Statement of Principles and Strategies for the Equitable Dissemination of Medical Technologies, which was initially endorsed by four other universities and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). The “SPS,” as it is known, has since been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous academic research institutions around the world.

Several sample licensing agreements are available for viewing on our website.