About NFRI

The goal of the Nonprofit Funder Research Institution Partnership (NFRI) is to establish a framework that reduces conflict and encourages long-term effective collaborations between nonprofit funders and the research institutions where their funded researchers advance discovery. The human element is at the core of both universities’ and funders’ missions – be it the scientific and professional success of our researchers, training the next generation of scientists or bettering the lives of patients – – it’s all about people. The emotional component is why these discussions are so hard but also why they are so important.

If the NFRI partnership can enable our research scientists to spend more time in the lab creating new discoveries – if staff at foundations and research institutions can devote more resources (time and money) to enable our scientists to solve some of the most challenging problems in biomedicine – then we have succeeded achieving the goals of this partnership. It is with these goals in mind we invite you to join this partnership to help tackle challenging issues with creativity and respect. If you are interested in joining email Maryrose Franko (HRA’s Executive Director) at Maryrose at HealthRA dot org.

Webinar Series

Our goal is to host a series of webinar discussions. Ideally, the first one would be on the impacts of COVID on our sectors, and the research community, and how do we learn from this experience to work together to prepare for the next crisis. Yes – what did we do wrong, but also are there successful strategies that we should continue to implement?  Do you have suggestions for speakers?

Other potential topics for this series are listed below.

  • Sharing of grant data (including language in grants agreements to retain the right to share grant data publicly)
  • Award and contract terms
  • COI
  • Streamlining reporting (maybe ProposalCentral as an example of good practices)
  • DEI (Bias in grant/job application and P&T review, increase diversity of applicants)
  • Debrief from our presentation at the AUTM meeting and how best to move forward
  • Facilitating Open Science (include library community?)
  • What are we missing?

 Please email maryrose at healthra.org with speaker or topic suggestions or better yet – subscribe to the listserv and add your comments there!


Through the 3 working groups and many workshops (see sections below), NRFI teams have created many templates, guidance documents, and other resources to help guide policy and decisions at both nonprofit funding organizations and research institutions. These resources are just guidelines. They are in no way meant to suggest that all funders or all research institutions implement the same policies or make the same decisions.

Educational materials
FAQ about Funders_April 2020
Funder Profile Template
Indirect Costs (aka “F&A”): There are more to IDC’s than you think” Webinar

Research Project Support Costs (RPSCs)
RPSC Customizable Menu
Definitions and examples of RPSCs
How to use the RPSC menu and definitions

Streamlining the Application Process
Best practices for RFA Creation and Improvement
Application Cover Page Guidelines
Guidelines for Giving Applicants Feedback
Communicating with Private Funders

Streamlining the Contracting Process

Streamlining the Financial Reporting Process
Detailed Financial Reporting information
Sample Templates for Budget, Invoices, and Reporting
Budget Category Definitions
Closeout & Reporting Timeline Guidance

IP/Tech Transfer Materials
Royalty Sharing
Control of licensing slide deck
Patient Access
IP Definitions (Draft)

Guiding Principles

The NFRI Partnership initially developed a set of 4 Guiding Principles by which we operate.

  • Efforts must focus on fostering effective long-term partnerships based on mutual trust.
  • Activities need to support the mission of each partner. Efforts that are not in alignment with the mission of either partner will have little chance of success.
  • Strategies should foster efficient and effective collaborations to ensure timely conduct, dissemination, and advancement of research findings – which will ultimately benefit all parties
  • Benefits from streamlining administrative processes and requirements should be realized by all parties.

Informal discussions began around the area of Intellectual Property (IP) in 2012.  But in 2017, the NFRI partnership was formalized as collaboration between members of the Health Research Alliance (HRA), and research institutions, with support from the Council on Government Relations (COGR).

NFRI Working Groups

Three Working Groups were also formed to advance NFRI’s mission between workshop.  These groups have frequent calls to gather information, share successful strategies and create resources to share with the community.  The groups are always looking for new members!  Click on the specific Working Group link to read and review the various resources being created.  Feedback on all resources is welcome.  Email maryrose at HealthRA dot org with comments, suggestions or to join a group.

Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer Workgroup
Research Project Support Costs Workgroup
Streamlining Administrative Requirements Workgroup


The NFRI partnership has hosted many workshops since 2018. Agendas, presentations, etc from those workshops can be found at the links below.
May 16, 2018 Meeting
November 7, 2018 Meeting
May 22, 2019 Meeting
September 24, 2019
April 23, 2020 Meeting

History of the Partnership

You can find more information about the History of the Partnership and guiding principles at the links below.

History of the Partnership Part 1
History of the Partnership Part 2
Draft Principles