Agreement Negotiation

Page Updated: June 24, 2024

Award and agreement negotiation of sponsored research projects on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus is generally handled by Research and Sponsored Programs. The Contract Negotiation Team within Research and Sponsored Programs is composed of several teams that review awards and agreements from a wide range of sponsors, including industry sponsors, non-profit organizations, state governments, the federal government, and foreign entities.

The Contract Negotiation Team at RSP is composed of twelve members who work together to promote and facilitate the extramurally supported research, education and outreach missions of the University through the review and negotiation of the terms and conditions of agreements. In reviewing award agreements, each team member works to ensure that the terms and conditions of the award documentation fit with federal law, state law, University of Wisconsin-Madison policies, Research and Sponsored Programs Policies, and the needs of the researchers here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Information on the negotiation process is as follows:

Documents Reviewed

The Contract Negotiation Team reviews both funded and non-funded agreements that support sponsored research. Agreement types include contracts, data use agreements, subawards (both incoming and outgoing), visiting scientist agreements, outgoing service agreements, material transfer agreements, clinical trial agreements, confidentiality agreements, and grants and/or cooperative agreements with special terms and conditions. We also conduct proposal review when the proposal includes terms in advance to ensure that, if the award is funded, we can navigate the terms associated with the award.UW-Madison Template Agreements can be found on the RSP Forms Page.


Prior to the Contract Negotiation Team conducting a review, the document needs to be uploaded to the RAMP Agreements Module. Individuals and departments should work with their respective Dean's Offices for further approvals and requirements. From there, the record will be routed to RSP to be processed and/or negotiated by the appropriate RSP Team.

For guidance on whether you need a RAMP Agreement record, please see the "Quick Sheet: Do I Need a RAMP Agreement for an Award?"


Once RSP receives the documents for review, the Contract Negotiation Team begins the review and negotiation process. As part of this process, we are looking to ensure that the terms of the proposal or agreement match with the requirements of the laws and policies applicable to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Specifically, we want to make sure that academic freedom is preserved, protecting rights in areas such as intellectual property, publication and data ownership, as well as ensuring that state restrictions are not exceeded in areas such as insurance and indemnification. In negotiation, the Contract Negotiation Team takes different approaches depending on the how the terms come in. These include:

  • For projects that have not yet been awarded but require pre-proposal review, the RSP Proposal Services team forwards the pre-proposal terms and conditions to the Contract Negotiation Team for review. The Contract Negotiation Team identifies terms and conditions provided by the sponsor that need negotiation and they then draft an exception letter requesting changes and/or negotiation in the event the proposal is funded.
  • For review of awarded projects, the Contract Negotiation Team is given the RAMP Agreement ID containing the agreement needing review, and the Contract Negotiation Team then directly negotiates changes with the sponsor. This is done through red-line exchanges, emails, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings.

For more information on award terms or university policies, please see our Awards Terms and University Policies pages.


After negotiation of the agreement by the RSP Contracts Team, an authorized official of the University will sign the agreement. After signing, the RSP Contracts Team forwards the agreement to the RSP Awards Team for final project setup.

See also: Agreement Templates, Award Terms, University Policies