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Category Research
Type Procedure
Approved by Council, 14 November 1995
Date Procedure Took Effect 1 January 1996
Last approved revision 13 April 2021
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)
Responsible officer Dean, Graduate Research School


This Procedure is designed to protect the interests of students involved in externally-funded or externally-supported projects

Organisational scope

This Procedure applies to all staff and students who are engaged in, or plan to undertake, externally sponsored graduate research.


The University's researchers, including graduate research students, must be able to publish and make presentations on the results of their research, including externally sponsored research. Notwithstanding this need, the University recognises that, in some research programmes, a requirement for a delay in publication of results in the open literature and/or to make special arrangements for the secure examination of a thesis may be necessary to protect the commercial interests of the Sponsor and the University. In such cases the following procedures should be followed:

  1. The student(s) should be fully informed in writing prior to their acceptance of the thesis topic of any agreement into which the University has entered and which may restrict their publication rights.
  2. If the student is an employee of an organisation which, by virtue of this relationship, may claim ownership of some or all of the research findings, there shall be a formal agreement between the University and the Employer to the effect that the student will have the right to present their thesis with their personal interpretation and use of the data and results. The conditions allowing secure examination may apply.
  3. Only in exceptional circumstances will the normal thesis examination procedures be modified. In these exceptional circumstances the University will arrange for commercial-in-confidence agreements to be completed by all prospective examiners before receiving the thesis for examination.
  4. The delay in publication will be formally agreed in the following or similar manner:
  5. The Sponsor recognises that, under University policy, the results of the University Project must be publishable and agrees that Researchers engaged in the Project shall be permitted to present at symposia, national, or regional professional meetings, and to publish in journals, theses or dissertations, or otherwise of their own choosing, methods and results of the Project, provided, however, that the Sponsor shall have been furnished copies of any proposed publication at least [_____] months in advance of the submission of such proposed publication or presentation to a journal, editor, or other third party. The Sponsor shall have [____] months, after receipt of the said copies, to object to such proposed presentation or proposed publication on the basis that there is patentable subject matter which needs protection. In the event that the Sponsor makes such objection, the said Researcher(s) shall refrain from making such publication or presentation for a maximum of [____] months from the date of receipt of such objection in order for the University to file patent application(s) with the Patent and Trademark Office and/or foreign patent office(s) directed to the patentable subject matter contained in the proposed publication or presentation.

  6. Access to the thesis in the University Library may be restricted for a period of time to persons designated by the University supervisor in agreement with the Head of Department.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy, procedure or guideline or need further clarification, contact:


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