Troublesome Clauses

All members of FDP are invited to participate in FDP's Phase II of the Troublesome Clauses demonstration.  In July 2007, the Contracts Task Force initiated a demonstration that would allow members to (1) determine the frequency with which research institutions receive clauses in government contracts that require lengthy negotiation for acceptance or which are so burdensome that the contract can not be accepted; and (2) enable the FDP membership to more effectively and efficiently negotiate and execute contracts.

 The initial phase of this demonstration included a collaboration with The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) and American Association of Universities (AAU).  FDP gathered the data used for the COGR/AAU report entitled “Restrictions on Research Awards:  Troublesome Clauses 2007/2008”  The report documented that restrictions in research agreements persist, and that universities most often find publication restrictions and restrictions on the participation of foreign nationals.  The report also revealed that Federal agencies have expanded the type of controls imposed in award terms and conditions, and are now including such terms in grants and cooperative agreements in addition to contracts.  The report, along with other documentation, is available at: This web site will serve as a resource to the FDP membership (both research institutions and federal agencies) for improving grant and contract negotiations. The website will provide information related to difficult negotiations and document the collaborative approaches used to expedite the process.

Troublesome Clauses Web Site

Incentives to Partiicpate:

Members who participate will gain access to information regarding what a troublesome clause is and how to negotiate changes.  In addition, this will be an ongoing initative that will enable the Contracts Task Force to begin developing a library of mutually agreeable contract language.  Incentives to participate also include:

  • Access to information will be available regarding the issues associated with troublesome clauses and provide specific examples where participants have been successful in negotiating changes
  • All pending troublesome contracts will be viewable in one spot per institution and/or user
  • Agencies will be able to help research institutions troubleshoot issues
  • Reports will be developed on topics such as average completion times for specific issues, sponsors, types of agreements, etc.

How to Enroll:

All FDP members are encouraged to participate.  While all members are eligible to enroll with view status, the Contracts Task Force strongly encourages you to enlist as an active member.  Each FDP institution that wishes to participate should contact David Wright at DWRIGHT@nas.eduto enroll a Troublesome Clauses Administrator.  David will need the full name and email address of the Administrator, who will then be responsible for granting access to personnel within the institution.  Data can be collected effective immediately.

Questions regarding this demonstration should be directed to Alexandra McKeown at

Troublesome Clauses Workgroup:

Joanne Altieri, University of Kansas

Monique Anderson, University of Maryland

Eugenie Chao, Northwestern University

Michael P. Corcoran, Massachusetts institute of Technology

Celeste Fuertes, Office of Naval Research (Co-Chair)

Tammy Good, Indiana University

Charles E. Greer, Jr., University of California Riverside

Jennifer B. Horn, Texas Tech University

David Mayo, California Institute of Technology (Co-Chair)

Jennifer McCallister, Duke University

Alexandra A. McKeown, Johns Hopkins University (Co-Chair)

Connie L. Motoki, Washington University in St. Louis

Karen S.  Niemeier, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Ruth Tallman, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science