Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)

Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are important when a research project is using confidential information from either the institution or the sponsor. While exchange of information is an important part of academic research, caution has to be taken when part of the information is confidential. An NDA will ensure that knowledge or research results are held in confidence and by doing so enable both parties to discuss their planned project.

It is important to consider that once information is available in the public domain (due to verbal disclosure, email or presentation at conferences) it is no longer patentable! Other criteria to keep information confidential are to keep a competitive advantage and be able to publish the results and maintain control over future research directions. The most important aspect as outlined about is the protection of novelty which is one of the key criteria for patentability of inventions. Prior to your discussions, please consider whether you will be disclosing any confidential information or potential IP that would require a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

Where can you get a NDA? 

Technology Management and Research Services are responsible for NDAs at KAUST (also known as Confidentiality Agreements or Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements, CDAs).

Technology Management is primarily responsible for handling NDAs/CDAs that are associated with technology development that may be of interest for future licensing purposes.

For preliminary discussions on research related activities, Research Services can help and advise you, and can put in place an appropriate Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) where necessary. If you are sharing new processes, unpublished data or other confidential information, you should protect your rights by having an NDA/CDA in place.

KAUST will enter into the NDA on behalf of a KAUST employee. Students can also be covered by NDAs. It is vital that you do not sign the NDA yourself, as it must be signed by a KAUST authorized signatory at Technology Management or the Office of Sponsored Research.

For further information on confidentiality issues, please contact Technology Management at email: or Research Services at email:, especially if you need a NDA to cover a disclosure you intend to make to a third party; or you have received a NDA from a third party and would like it reviewed.