A Teaming Agreement (TA) is a binding agreement between MIT and one or more organizations that are joining together to propose a new cooperative research program to a prime sponsor—often a federal or foreign government agency—in response to a competitive request for proposal (RFP). The lead proposing organization usually drafts the TA and requests that MIT agree to it.
TAs specify the RFP which will be addressed by the team, the objectives for each member of the team, the proposal to be generated by the team, and the actions and deliverables required from each party. Organizations that request TAs with MIT often ask the Institute to agree to partner exclusively with them in responding to the RFP. However, MIT will not agree to this condition, as we will not bar PIs who are not named participants in the TA from joining other organizations to respond to the same RFP. MIT will agree, however, that MIT’s specified participants in the TA will not engage with another organization to respond to that RFP.
TAs require that if the RFP is awarded to the lead proposing organization, that organization will issue a subcontract to MIT for MIT’s share of the proposed research unless the prime sponsor specifically disallows MIT’s participation.
The resulting proposal may or may not win the award; under a TA, MIT receives no funding for its proposal preparation efforts.
There is no fixed form or content for TAs; their content is determined by their objectives. Generally, TAs are drafted by the lead organization preparing the proposal for the prime sponsor.
The time period for reaching agreement on a TA is usually driven by the proposal submission deadline. TAs typically expire when the prime sponsor selects or rejects the team’s proposal.
What does OSP need to prepare a TA?
The OSP contract administrator for your department, laboratory, or center will need the following:
- An outline of the plans for and intent of the teaming effort
- A copy of the RFP
- Contact information for the individuals involved in negotiating the TA at each of the collaborating organizations
- The draft TA provided by the lead organization (unless MIT is the lead organization)
What is the process?
- The OSP contract administrator for your department, laboratory, or center will engage a contract specialist from the OSP Industrial Agreements Team to work with the principal investigator(s) and collaborating organizations to draft the TA.
- The contract specialist and the representatives of the collaborating organizations will discuss their organizations’ needs and expectations for the collaboration. From these discussions, the TA will be drafted.
- The contract specialist will negotiate with representatives of the collaborating organizations until a mutually acceptable TA is produced.
- Finally, the TA will be signed by each organization and by the appropriate signer in OSP for MIT.
How long will this process take?
The length of time to draft a TA is affected by the complexity of the project as well as by how much discussion is needed to reach consensus. Potential complicating factors may include:
- Number of participating organizations
- Unclear expectations and ambitions for the collaboration
- Requests and requirements of the participating organizations that conflict with MIT policies, practices, or organizational structure
- How quickly and fully each participating organization’s representative responds to OSP’s communications
During the development of a TA, the contract specialist may need to consult with multiple MIT offices. For these reasons, the time to reach agreement on TAs varies widely. Since TAs generally have short deadlines because of the limited time in which the team’s proposal must be prepared and submitted to the prime sponsor, please notify OSP about the need for a TA as soon as possible.
Your contract administrator and contract specialist will update you on the progress of your Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiation.
Where to get help: Contact the OSP contract administrator for your department, laboratory, or center.