This policy sets out the ARC’s intellectual property requirements for the NCGP, ERA and EI.  The policy’s focus is to facilitate an adaptable research and innovation environment, in which ARC funded research can be initiated by any sector and the benefits can be realised for Australia.


For ARC purposes, intellectual property includes:

  • all copyright and neighbouring rights
  • all rights in relation to inventions (including patent rights)
  • plant varieties, registered and unregistered trademarks (including service marks)
  • registered designs
  • confidential information (including trade secrets and know-how and circuit layouts)
  • all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.


The ARC is committed to ensuring that benefits to Australia from the research it funds are maximised through the effective management and use, including commercialisation, of intellectual property arising from ARC funded research.

The ARC does not seek to own, or benefit from, intellectual property created from ARC funded research.  Intellectual property arising from ARC funded research will vest as agreed between the organisations collaborating on the research.

Within this framework, the ARC has adopted a flexible approach to intellectual property focussed on:

  • supporting a collaborative research sector encompassing the Australian, and international, higher education sectors, industry, business and government
  • facilitating access for business and industry, as major investors in research and innovation, to intellectual property arising from ARC funded research
  • implementing mechanisms to ensure ARC funded research can be best utilised through intellectual property sharing
  • supporting the protection of intellectual property.

National Competitive Grants Program

The NCGP funds research across all disciplines, leading to new technologies, processes, ideas and innovations.

Discovery Program

The ARC's Discovery Program recognises the importance of fundamental research to the national innovation system. The national innovation system includes the people (for example, in government, higher education and business), processes and relationships involved in 'new' knowledge in a knowledge-based economy.  Supporting a strong capability in fundamental research will result in the development of new ideas, the creation of jobs, economic growth and an enhanced quality of life in Australia.

Linkage Program

The ARC's Linkage Program aims to encourage, and extend, cooperative approaches to research and improve the use of research outcomes by strengthening links within Australia’s innovation system and with innovation systems internationally.

The Program promotes national and international research partnerships between researchers based at NCGP Administering Organisations, primarily Australian universities, and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies. By supporting the development of partnerships, the ARC encourages the transfer of skills, knowledge and ideas as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.


Administering Organisations

NCGP Administering Organisations must comply with the intellectual property requirements as set out in the:

These requirements include, but are not limited to:

Grant agreement signed by the ARC and each Administering Organisation

  • adhere to an intellectual property policy, approved by their governing body, which has as one of its aims the maximisation of benefits to Australia arising from publicly funded research
  • indemnify the ARC and its indemnitees, against all claims, demands, suits, liabilities, costs, expenses, damages and losses suffered or incurred by the indemnitees arising out of or in connection with any actual or alleged infringement of a third party’s intellectual property rights
  • grant, or procure for, the Commonwealth a permanent, irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to use and reproduce information contained in a proposal or a report and publish it on a non-profit basis as set out in the grant guidelines.

National Principles of Intellectual Property Management for Publicly Funded Research

  • ensure good management of intellectual property, including accessibility arrangements which allow for its use, re-use and potential commercial exploitation
  • uphold the academic requirement to publishhave ways of addressing cases where intellectual property impinges, or potentially impinges, on the cultural, spiritual or other aspects of Indigenous peoples
  • ensure that there is clean and clear ownership of intellectual property, including for employees, grant holders and students
  • support the management of the data from which the intellectual property was derived.

Participating Organisations

NCGP participating organisations must comply with the intellectual property requirements as set out in the:

  • ARC grant guidelines and agreements (current versions)
  • National Principles of Intellectual Property Management for Publicly Funded Research (2017).

ERA and EI

Institutions participating in ERA and EI must comply with the intellectual property requirements as set out in the:

  • ERA 2018 Submission Guidelines
  • EI 2018 Submission Guidelines

These requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • where a participating institution owns intellectual property rights or has a right to sublicense, they must provide an express licence to the ARC for the use of material in ERA and/or EI submissions—noting the ARC may use this material for the purposes of ERA and EI, policy development and program management.