NERC sponsorship principles
Sponsorship means payment by a private sector organisation or individual in return for public association with a NERC activity, project, event, or asset. It can be in cash or in kind.
Sponsorship can help NERC achieve its objectives and will be actively sought. But it must be governed by the following principles, which have been endorsed by Council.
- The sponsorship agreement must be in writing, cleared with the lawyers of NERC and of the sponsor, and should set out unambiguously the responsibilities and expectations of each party, and the benefits which each will receive. It should also include clauses covering its review and termination.
- Any sponsorship must produce significant benefit for NERC within its agreed strategic objectives, and without detriment to the wider public interest.
- This benefit must outweigh any reputational or business risk for NERC through being associated with the sponsor.
- Sponsorship must always be consistent with NERC's ethical policy. This rules out some sources, such as tobacco.
- The arrangement must be wholly transparent, with provision for public scrutiny.
- NERC will not endorse or give preference to sponsor products. Nor will NERC give any competitive advantage to any sponsor.
- All intellectual property rights stemming from the sponsored activity, whether anticipated or not, remains the property of NERC, unless there is an explicit agreement to the contrary in the original sponsorship document.
- There should be no exclusivity clause.
- NERC's work, and its key messages, should not be influenced or contradicted by the sponsor. Any statement by the sponsor about its relationship with NERC, or use of NERC logos/brands in sponsor advertising, or publications showing images relating to NERC, must be explicitly approved by NERC. This requirement should be spelt out in the sponsorship agreement.
- Sponsorship income for a project or activity should be in addition to core funding or commissioned research. It should normally not exceed 40% of the total funds for a project or activity.
- All sponsorship over £5,000 will be disclosed in NERC's annual report.
- Any potential sponsorship in excess of £50,000 should be brought to the attention of the NERC finance director at an early stage.
- Any offer of sponsorship of over £100,000, or which is novel, or which may prove contentious, must be brought to NERC Council after consultation with the Ethics Committee.
These principles do not apply to co-funding (where a second party contributes to a specific project or programme in order to gain directly from the data and knowledge so produced) where specific principles are under development.