Equipment is defined by the federal government and Fisk University
guidelines as an article of non-expendable personal property having a
useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or
more per unit (this definition does not include computers). Items which
do not meet these criteria are classified as “Supplies”. Accessories,
component parts and installation cost of an item of equipment should be
classified as part of the basic unit cost of the equipment. Do not list
such charges separately. Replacement parts and computer software are
classified as supplies. For most applications, justification must be
provided for requests to purchase items of equipment that appear to
duplicate or be equivalent to items already available in the research
environment. It is a requirement to obtain three bids for equipment or
personal property type items which exceed $3,000 in value. Where three
bids are not possible, justification or explanation must be provided.
Use of Equipment
These procedural guidelines are intended to define general Federal
policies that govern the allowable uses of equipment on Federally
sponsored projects for activities beyond those which are covered by the
sponsored project. The Federal regulations that govern equipment use
are identified in OMB Circular A-110. Principal Investigators and
Project Directors (PI/PD’s) should review their specific awards and
consult the guidelines of the sponsoring agency, (for example NSF
Important Notice 91) and the applicable version of A-110 prior to
making final decisions.
- Equipment Ownership: Title to equipment acquired by a grant
with Federal funds or non-Federal funds shall be vested in the
University subject to conditions contained in OMB Circular A-110
- Use After Project Period: The Investigator shall use the
equipment in the project or program for which it was acquired as long
as needed, whether or not the project or program continues to be
supported by Federal funds. When no longer needed for the original
project or program, the recipient shall use the equipment in connection
with its other federally-sponsored activities, in the following order
- Activities sponsored by the Federal awarding agency which funded the original project, then,
Activities sponsored by other Federal awarding agencies.
- Other University uses
During the time that equipment is used on the project or program
for which it was acquired, the recipient may make it available for use
on other projects or programs if such other use will not interfere with
the work on the project or program for which the equipment was
First preference for such other use shall be given to other projects or
programs sponsored by the Federal awarding agency that financed the
equipment; second preference shall be given to projects or programs
sponsored by other Federal awarding agencies.
If the equipment is owned by the Federal Government, use on other
activities not sponsored by the Federal Government shall be permissible
if authorized by the Federal awarding agency.
During the Project Period, all charges for the used equipment shall be treated as program income.
- Inventory Control A log should be kept of all equipment purchased
by an individual and/or department. Information needed includes:
- Source of funds (include name of agency and budget number)
- Date of purchase
- Equipment purchased
- Amount of purchase
- Room location of equipment
Co-Authorship of Scholarly Reports, Papers and Publications
is the policy of Fisk University that proper credit be given to those
individuals who make material contributions to activities which lead to
scholarly reports, papers and publications.
Rigid prescriptive requirements
in this area are considered unwise, because the situation with respect
to co-authorship varies from one discipline to another and from one
publication to another. Nevertheless, it is recommended that the
authors of scholarly reports, papers and publications abide by the
following principles regarding co-authorship.
- Co-authorship should be offered to anyone who has clearly made a material contribution to the work.
Moreover, each co-author should be furnished with a copy of the
manuscript before it is submitted, and allowed an opportunity to review
it prior to submission. An author submitting a paper, report or
publication should never include the name of a co-author without the
person’s consent. Exceptional circumstances, such as death or inability
to locate a co-author, should be handled on a case by case basis. In
cases where the contribution may have been marginal, an acknowledgment
of the contribution in the publication might be more appropriate than
- In the case of theses for advanced degrees, if the thesis or paper
based upon it is not published with the degree recipient as sole
author, then that person should normally be listed as the first author.
In no instance should theses, or papers based upon them, be published
under the sole authorship of the thesis advisor.
Anyone accepting co-authorship of a paper must realize that this action
implies a responsibility as well as a privilege. As a general rule,
each co-author should understand the content of the publication well
enough to be able to take responsibility for all of it, otherwise the
publication should clearly indicate the parts for which each co-author
has responsibility. If a potential co-author has doubts concerning the
correctness of the content or conclusions of a publication, and if
these doubts cannot be dispelled by consultation with the other
co-authors, the individual should decline co-authorship.
The Fisk University Policy on Intellectual Property, Copyrights, Inventions and Patents is available to download here
University personnel who
believe they may have developed an invention should immediately notify
the Office of Sponsored Programs. The title of a patent for any
discovery or invention made by an employee of Fisk University belongs
to the said employee and he/she is free to develop or handle it in any
manner he/she sees fit, subject to the following provisions:
- After all costs of obtaining the patent are deducted, when total
royalties or other compensations are $750 or less, no payment to the
University is required.
- When royalties or other compensations (after payment of patent
costs) amount to more than $750 and $5000 or less, 25 percent of such
royalties or other compensations above the sum of $750 and $5000 or
less shall be paid to the University, and if the royalties amount to
more than $5000, then 50 percent of the royalties amount above $5000
shall be paid to the University.
- Recognizing that such discoveries are seldom the result of single
experiments, even though a single experiment may produce the actual
patentable result, and at the same time recognizing the right of
participants in the project, the principal investigator shall be
recognized as the inventor, and the rights of the other participants
shall be as previously agreed upon.
- These statements do not preclude agreements suggested by grant
agencies, such as the Public Health Service, which give them certain
- In determining the amount of royalties, the cost of obtaining the
patent shall be deducted and the balance of the royalties shall be
divided in the manner herein before set out. Cost shall include
preliminary expense of models and drawings, filing fees and attorney’s
fees, but shall not include expenditures incident to research. (Board
of Trustees Resolution, April 1958.)
The University encourages
faculty, staff, and students to create literary, scholarly, and
artistic works, including textbooks and other instructional materials.
In this context, copyright ownership of such works generally rests with
the creator(s) (faculty, student, staff, etc.) unless they are
generated within the scope of the creator’s employment, commissioned by
the University, or are subject to a sponsor’s agreement which provides
for a different ownership.
The copyright of literary, scholarly and artistic works, including
books, articles, contributions to collective works, and other means of
presentation, including instructional materials, is not considered to
be outside the scope of employment unless it was not created on
University time or did not involve using University resources.
Copyrights in research or survey instruments (questionnaires, etc.),
instructional materials (including videotapes), and in computer
software created on University time are considered within the scope of
employment and hence owned by the University. University personnel
creating such materials are urged to contact the OSP, through the
cognizant University administrators, for assistance in the copyright
process and for subsequent licensing efforts
The commercial exploitation of inventions, in the form of products and
processes for business and industry, is a highly competitive
enterprise. It is therefore critical that inventors begin the
disclosure process as soon as the possibility of an invention becomes
evident. Delays give others an opportunity to establish a claim which
may deprive an original inventor of his/her rightful recognition and
compensation. Some other considerations follow.
- In general, it is prudent to delay the oral disclosure or
publication of research details that are specific to an invention until
such time as the invention has been evaluated and, as appropriate,
protected. Such decisions, however, should not be allowed to adversely
affect the progress of students toward their degrees. In most cases the
omission of information from publications which would compromise a
commercial application does not impede the free flow of fundamental
knowledge. In particular, inventions in a University setting are
usually practical manifestations of an underlying body of fundamental
knowledge. As such, one can frequently engage in the free exchange of
basic ideas without compromising the practical application.
- Public disclosure of a concept in the open literature (in
abstracts and texts of presentations at meetings, and in theses, etc.)
generally precludes obtaining patent protection in most foreign
countries. In the U.S., one may obtain a patent as long as the
application is filed within one year of the date of public disclosure.
The impact of the waiving of foreign rights for an invention depends
upon the size of U.S. and foreign markets, the relative market shares
of foreign and domestic companies in the technology in question, etc.
- Rights to inventions arising from industrially sponsored
research are usually prescribed in a research contract containing a
work statement and other terms and conditions of the award. Sponsors
generally receive the first option on a license to technology resulting
from research which they support.
Federal agencies allow contractors, including universities, to retain
ownership of intellectual property arising from research which they
sponsor. The government retains non-exclusive rights to such
intellectual property for its own purposes. The University has a
contractual obligation to inform sponsoring agencies of inventions
within two months after they are disclosed to the Office of Sponsored
Programs, to elect to retain title within two years, and to file a
patent within one year of election.
- Members of research consortia are typically given
nonexclusive rights to inventions conceived in whole or part with
consortium funds. Such arrangements can, unfortunately, seriously
compromise the commercial potential of an invention. In particular, the
resulting lack of marketplace exclusively may deter companies from
investing in the production facilities and marketing strategies
required to commercialize an invention. Faculty concerned about this
issue may wish to restrict the use of consortium funds to the support
of pre-proprietary research.
- Consulting contracts sometimes contain provisions which limit
the disposition of research results, including intellectual property,
in promising research areas. They should be examined to ensure that the
assignment of rights to intellectual property evolving from consulting
activities does not conflict with the patent agreement signed by the
University employee involved in such negotiations. In general, faculty
may, within the scope of a consulting agreement, assign rights to
intellectual property in their fields of expertise where organizations
engaging their services have legitimate prior claims to the
development(s) in question. Examples include consulting activity
leading to the refinement of an existing product or process, or to a
development for which background patents or prior art claims exist. In
any case, faculty should bring consulting contracts to the attention of
cognizant University administrators prior to executing them.
The OSP should be notified
as soon as a site visit has been scheduled. Usually, the site visitors
will notify the PI of required components of the visit (people and
sites they need to see, materials that should be provided, etc.) A copy
of the agenda for the visit should be sent to the OSP as soon as it is
available. If help is needed, contact the OSP in a timely manner.
When University officials such as the President, Provost or other top
administrators are required to meet with the site visitors, be sure to
provide them with pertinent information concerning the program. If
necessary, plan a pre-meeting to brief individuals so they will be
knowledgeable concerning the purpose of their meeting with the site
visitors and the goals of the project.
Secure a comfortable conference room that is large enough to
hold the site visitors and University participants. Audiovisual
equipment may be required. Arrangements should be made well in advance
for special equipment needed that is not housed in the site meeting
room. Amenities such as refreshments, telephone, legal pads, pencils,
pens, and name tags (depending upon the number of visitors and number
of Fisk participants present) should be provided, if possible.
Consideration should be exercised when scheduling the site visit.
Usually visits will begin between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. If site visitors
want to start earlier or later than these hours, they will tell you.
Build in time for delays in case a session runs over time or
participants are late (for very legitimate reasons). Also, remember it
takes time to move from one building to another. Lunch brought to the
site visitors permits maximum flexibility in scheduling. This should
require less than one hour. The Fisk Faculty/Staff Dining Hall is
adequate and relatively inexpensive and may be used as an option. Plan
for adequate time to allow site visitors to catch airline flights. Take
into account traffic patterns during certain hours of the day.
Prior preparation prevents failure. This brief window is your best opportunity to impress campus guests.