Commercialising your research


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As a graduate researcher, it’s important to understand intellectual property and copyright – but it can be challenging. We have support in place to help you navigate the complexities of these concepts. Here are key points to get you started.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as ideas, inventions and designs. You may contribute to or be solely responsible for creation of IP.

Who owns the IP that I create?

You will own any IP you create that relates to your research, except where:

  • the work is subject to a ‘specified agreement’ – an agreement with an external party that relates to the ownership of IP, like a funding agreement
  • the IP constitutes teaching material.

What are my responsibilities?

You should discuss IP with your supervisor before you begin your research.

You must inform our IP and Technology Transfer team or your Business Development manager if you create IP and:

  • your research is subject to a ‘specified agreement’ or other third-party agreement
  • the IP is an invention, discovery or technology that may have the potential for commercial application.

When you disclose your IP to us, it starts a process that could lead to the commercialisation of your discovery or creation. The University's IP and Technology Transfer team is here to help you manage your IP.

We share net proceeds from the commercialisation of IP with creators. For more information on this, please refer to our IP Policy.

Students as staff members

If you’re also employed casually or part-time by us, we own the IP you create during your employment. You should separate (where possible) the work that you do as a researcher from the work you do as an employee.

Our policy

For detailed information on our approach to IP, refer to our IP Policy and section 13 of the University of Melbourne Statute.


Copyright protects the expression of ideas and information in material form. For example, as they are written down, recorded as an image or as sound.

You will own the copyright in your thesis and in material you produce, unless you assign your copyright to a publisher, or its ownership is part of a ‘specified agreement’.

Meanwhile, we have the right to use work created by you, for educational, teaching and research purposes only.

Some research projects may be bound by confidentiality or other publication agreements. Before commencing your degree, check with your supervisor as to whether any conditions apply to your project.

For further information, please refer to Copyright Ownership at the University of Melbourne.

First published on 16 February 2022.

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