BP International Centre for Advanced Materials

The request was partially successful.

Dear University of Manchester,

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act I would like to request the following information about the 'BP International Centre for Advanced Materials' (ICAM), be hosted by the University of Manchester:

- Details, mention in email/fax, or meeting minutes referring to governance structures planned for ICAM, including a how management of ICAM will be shared between BP, University of Manchester, and other partners.

- Details, mention in email/fax, or meeting minutes referring to ownership of intellectual property of ICAM's research.

- Details, mention in email/fax, or meeting minutes of regarding admission of BP representatives onto any ICAM or University of Manchester committees.

Yours faithfully,

Ric Lander

Lisa Crawley, University of Manchester

Dear Mr Lander

 

I am writing to acknowledge your email requesting data relating to the ‘BP
International Centre for Advanced Materials’. 

 

My colleague, Alan Carter will be dealing with your request and will
contact you with regards it shortly.  I have copied Mr Carter  into this
email so that you have his contact details.

 

With best regards

 

Lisa Crawley

 

Dr. Lisa Crawley

Records Officer

Records Management Office

The University of Manchester

Manchester M13 9PL

 

Tel: +44 (0)161 275 8400

Email: [email address]

 

 

Alan Carter, University of Manchester

Dear Mr Lander,

I am writing in relation to your FoI request of 23 July 2013 to The University of Manchester relating to ICAM.

We are currently considering the public interest in relation to an exemption which we wish to apply to part of your request. This will unfortunately mean that we will need to take some extra time beyond the statutory 20 working days. We should be able to provide a response to you within the next three weeks.

I also need to ask you for some clarification in relation to the fourth part of your request, “Details, mention in email/fax, or meeting minutes of regarding admission of BP representatives onto any ICAM or University of Manchester committees”. The University of Manchester has had a long relationship with BP which predates the ICAM. There has been BP representation on several University committees in various contexts over many years, largely unrelated to ICAM. It would be quite impossible within the confines of the FoIA Fees Regulations for us to gather all the minutes and correspondence of these committees together. We have presumed, therefore, that you are only interested in those committees related to ICAM. Please could you confirm that this is the case?

Yours sincerely

Alan Carter
Records Manager
The University of Manchester
Room G.011 John Owens Building
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PL

Tel: 0161 2758111
Fax: 0161 2758402

[email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Alan Carter,

Thank you for your response.

I am happy for the request to be narrrowed to include only discussions that relate to ICAM, however, I would like to see full copies of documents where it is mentioned rather than excerpts, and would also like to invclude in the query documents relating to ICAM before it was the title ICAM was agreed.

Yours sincerely,

Ric Lander

Dear Alan Carter,

I haven't had a reply from yourself regarding my email of 20 August 2013. Could you please clarify the status of my request?

Yours sincerely,

Ric Lander

Alan Carter, University of Manchester

5 Attachments

Dear Mr Lander,

I am writing in response to your recent request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your request was as follows:

“Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act I would like to request the following information about the 'BP International Centre for Advanced Materials' (ICAM), hosted by the University of Manchester:

- Details, mention in email/fax, or meeting minutes referring to governance structures planned for ICAM, including a how management of ICAM will be shared between BP, University of Manchester, and other partners.

- Details, mention in email/fax, or meeting minutes referring to ownership of intellectual property of ICAM's research.

- Details, mention in email/fax, or meeting minutes of regarding admission of BP representatives onto any ICAM or University of Manchester committees.”

Details of the governance structures of BP-ICAM can now be found on the Centre’s website at http://www.icam-online.org/main/aboutica....

I also attach a copy of the terms of reference of the BP-ICAM Governing Board, 2 sets of Governing Board minutes and one set of Programme Management Board minutes. These documents constitute the discussions and conclusions relating to the management structures for BP-ICAM. I trust that this will serve to address the first part of your request.

With regard to the second part of your request, which relates to ownership of intellectual property of ICAM research, The University of Manchester wishes to apply two exemptions. Please see the refusal notice below.

With regard to the third part of your request, I can confirm that there has been no discussion relating to the admission of BP representatives on to The University of Manchester committees within the BP-ICAM minutes.

Please note that we have not undertaken a search of emails as requested. It would not be possible to do this for all staff involved under the FoI fees regulations.

REFUSAL NOTICE

The University of Manchester wishes to refuse the section of your request which asks for details of the ownership of intellectual property in BP-ICAM’s research. The University confirms that it holds relevant information, but wishes to withhold it under sections 41 and 43 (2) of the Act

Section 41.

This section applies to information provided in confidence and states that information is exempt if it was obtained from any other person and its disclosure would constitute an actionable breach of confidence. Information relating to BP-ICAM intellectual property share is largely contained within contractual documents between The University of Manchester and BP which are covered by a non disclosure agreement which would be actionable if breached.

Section 43 (2).

This section applies to information which would cause commercial prejudice if released. It states that “information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it)”.

The University of Manchester believes that the release of IP share information would be likely to prejudice its own commercial interests for the following reasons. In the current financial climate universities are increasingly reliant on research funding from private organisations to replace and supplement more traditional government and public funding streams. There is intense competition between universities for this funding. If another university were to become aware of the IP share arrangements between The University of Manchester and BP they would be in a position to attempt to undercut the current arrangement and offer a better share to BP in an attempt to divert research funding to themselves.

For this reason we have also redacted financial information from the attached minutes.

Public interest test.

As s.43 (2) is a qualified exemption a public interest test has been undertaken.

The University of Manchester accepts that it is in the public interest that the research undertaken by HEIs, as public authorities, be as open and transparent as possible. To this end The University of Manchester publishes and shares the results and data produced by the vast majority of research projects undertaken by its staff.

It is not in the public interest however that the precise arrangements for the funding and IP share of such projects be available, particularly when the source of such funding is not the public purse but private funding. The government expects universities to identify and pursue such funding sources to replace public funding, and it is clearly in the public interest that they are able to do so without the danger of being undercut by other universities or private research institutions, and also without the private companies involved running the risk of confidential financial data being made public.

I am sorry to be unable to help further on this occasion. Please find attached a copy of our appeals procedure should you wish to contest this decision.

Yours sincerely

Alan Carter
Records Manager
The University of Manchester
Room G.011 John Owens Building
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PL

Tel: 0161 2758111
Fax: 0161 2758402

[email address]

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