Non-Proprietary User Agreements (NPUAs)
What is the purpose of a NPUA?

The agreement refers to the Technical Scopes of Work (TSW) or other collaboration agreement(s) that each institution has with Fermilab (or with an experimental team working at Fermilab) for collaborating on specific experiments associated with the Fermilab Accelerator Complex or CMS. This includes collaborations that are working on new experimental proposals that are targeted for Fermilab. A single NPUA covers all users from a single institution, regardless of the number of collaborations or experiments.

Yet, we do not actually attach each of the collaboration agreements to the NPUA. Instead, we treat the NPUA as an umbrella or master agreement that addresses matters like liability and intellectual property, without rewriting all the existing collaboration and experimental documents that we have successfully used for years.

We treat the existing Statements of Work or Collaboration Agreements that your institution has already signed to join one of these approved experiments as Appendices.  We associate these agreements electronically with the NPUA as part of the onboarding process of the individual participants, but do not actually attach the physical documents to the NPUA itself.

In Article IV and Article X of the NPUA, participants have to execute certain documents. What are they?

As part of our implementation of the NPUA framework, a Participant Acknowledgement form should be submitted. In addition, when a participant from an institution requests a new badge or a renewal of an existing badge, they will be asked to sign this Acknowledgement prior to receipt of the badge. Any participant who is not familiar with the terms and conditions of the NPUA, will be referred to the standard agreement template. See Fermilab’s current procedures for prospective users.


Can changes be made to the NPUA?

Unfortunately, no. The Department of Energy (DOE) views these NPUAs as “non-negotiable,” especially those provisions marked by a triple asterisk. With 17 national laboratories and hundreds of research partners using the facilities that have been funded by the U.S. Government, changes to the standard provisions need to be considered in the context of the rights of all user institutions. DOE is very reluctant to approve a change for one user institution, as it may have unintended consequences for other user institutions at a facility.

DOE’s instructions indicate: “The Department of Energy has opted to utilize the following agreement for Designated Non-Proprietary User Facilities transactions. Because these transactions are widespread across Departmental facilities, uniformity in agreement terms is desirable. Except for the *** provisions, minor modifications to the terms of this agreement may be made by CONTRACTOR, but any changes to the *** provisions or substantive changes to the non *** provisions will require approval by the DOE Contracting Officer, WHICH WILL LIKELY DELAY YOUR ACCESS TO THE USER FACILITY.”

Does a user need written approval for promotional activities?

Yes. ARTICLE XIII.B. is specifically targeted to commercial activities, and we would expect you to acknowledge the contributions of the Department of Energy facilities at Fermilab when you publish your results.

Is there a fee to do an experiment at Fermilab?

As stated in Article III, there is no fee to do an experiment on site. We simply offer the option of opening a financial account for users as a convenience in case you want to provide funding for such things as housing or individual expenses to support users while onsite here at the lab. This is purely optional. For further explanation, view the User Account Form and/or Procedures.

Who has authority to sign a NPUA?

The agreement needs to be signed by someone within in your organization who is authorized to commit to certain legal terms and conditions, such as the indemnity provisions. If you are not certain whether you are authorized to sign the agreement, you should contact your organization for clarification. We cannot make that determination for you or your institution.