Funder-Institution RelationS Task (FIRST) Group

Community Description

The FIRST group is focused on enhancing relationships with research institutions to work together on common provisions in grant agreements such as intellectual property, reporting requirements, and indirect costs by:

  • surveying the landscape,
  • identifying common ground, and
  • providing guidance to funders and institutions around our interest.

The FIRST Group was formed following a meeting at which participants from HRA member organizations realized there are several issues they’d like to learn more about, such as the range of practices among funders for negotiating intellectual property (IP), why some funders choose no ownership of IP, and how much time and effort funders are spending negotiating IP.  Another key issue that surfaced at this meeting was funder policies on payment of Indirect Costs (also called facilities & administration, or F&A) to the institutions.  Although funders see IP and F&A as separate issues, for some institutions these issues are intertwined.


The FIRST Group partners with key organizations to advance its goals.  After the initial meeting hosted by Stanford University, HRA has hosted Members Meeting sessions and webinars, and joined forces with FasterCures and the Council on Governmental Relations to bring together many different perspectives.

Nonprofit Funder – Research Institution (NFRI) Partnership

Click the link above to learn more about the NFRI partnership and access the many resources that were created via the members of NFRI. 

In 2017, a formal working group began conducting monthly calls to advance discussions on IP and technology transfer, reimbursement of research operating costs, and how to streamline administrative requirements. These discussions led to a May 16, 2018 meeting supported by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s (NASEM) Government University Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR). Among the goals of the meeting was to engage the broader community of nonprofit funders and research institutions in these discussions and to demonstrate the potential benefits of a broad, ongoing partnership between nonprofit funders and research institutions.

Collecting Data and Creating Resources

In addition to partnering, the FIRST Group collects and disseminates data to understand the relationships between non-profit funders and the research institutions they fund.  See the Resources section for links to the various resources developed by the FIRST Group.

The initial resource developed was a “HRA FIRST Group Funder Survey” to better understand current issues in research award, grant or contract requirements from the perspective of nonprofit health funders. FIRST Group Survey Results  have informed discussions toward the development of guidelines and principles that can be embraced by a wide community of nonprofit funders.

FIRST group meeting notes from September 25-26, 2019 HRA Members Meeting



The FIRST Group is being co-chaired by: