Office of Research Service Agreements - Office of Research

Service Agreements

Business vs. Research

Many industry-university research relationships are for collaborative research. Some relationships may appear to industry to be more business-like. All work at UC must forward our mission of teaching, research, and public service in some way. The contract UC uses for certain types of business relationships is called a “Services Agreement”, and it contains some terms to address the mission-related differences in this industry-university relationship.

The University provides services to outside entities on a “no-profit/no loss” basis, just as when performing research sponsored by industry. Service budgets must provide both the direct and the indirect costs associated with the services. The rate and method of cost application conform to the negotiated Facilities and Administrative Cost Rates.

Steps to Getting a Services Agreement

The first step is to talk with the industry representative about what they are requesting. You may already have a rate which includes both direct and indirect costs for the service you are discussing. If there is not, you need to estimate the projected direct costs for the project, and then add the indirect costs. Once you have agreed on who/what/when/where and for how much, contact one of the contracting units at UC Davis which handle most of the Services Agreements: the Purchasing & Business Contracts office or the Sponsored Programs office. The appropriate UC Davis office will develop, negotiate (as necessary) and execute the service agreement.


In a Service Agreement, it is necessary to clearly identify how the services fit within UC’s mission. For example, services using equipment or supplies provided by the company might generate a unique educational opportunity to students, one they would not get otherwise.

Goods and services that we provide do not come with commercial promises and warranties.

You should also expect to see contractual terms covering the dates of services, the compound or product that you are to receive with detailed specifications, the agreed-upon cost and payment terms, termination, waivers of warranties and liability, indemnification, notice addresses and methods of communication, and points of contact for both sides.