POLICY for SPOR Network SPONSOR PARTNER RELATIONS
Framework for Private and Public Sector Partnerships
The Vision of our SPOR Network is to enable the transformation of health outcomes for all Canadians with diabetes. We will accomplish this by aligning collaborative research performed upstream with what patients and their health professional care providers perceive as most urgent to prevent and effectively treat diabetes complications. We have identified goals that will uniquely position our investigators to network their activities across disciplines and provincial boundaries. The outcomes of these strategic basic, clinical research, knowledge translation, training and patient-engagement efforts will facilitate the scale-up of new and effective interventions to prevent and treat the complications of diabetes (retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy and cardiac disease) using precision diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Transformative change of clinical care will rely on novel technologies to monitor and promote patient-empowered self-care. We must translate patient-centered knowledge into customized clinical care models that will include targeted therapies for diabetes complications.
To accomplish effective and timely translation of new knowledge into clinical practice it is essential that the SPOR Network partner strategically with stakeholders in both public and private sectors. The testing and scale up of new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions will require co-investment including from for-profit corporations, that share our vision and mission over the next 5 years. Co-investment may range from direct funding of research projects, e.g., new diagnostic or drug discovery for one or more diabetes complications, to provision of infrastructure such as equipment or services, e.g., telecommunications for patient data acquisition. In addition the SPOR Network welcomes philanthropic support of researchers, students or specific research programs.
Depending on the negotiated arrangement, the co-investment by a private or public sponsor partner may be arranged:
- directly with the SPOR Network through a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the Co-Leads and Steering Council (Governance body for the SPOR Network):
- through either an industry contract with a SPOR Network partner academic or health care institution (University or university –affiliated research hospital) for a SPOR Network investigator; or,
- by a standard donor agreement with a partner institution (University or Hospital Foundation).
Corporate Partners who co-invest will have the opportunity to become recognized members of the SPOR Network in accordance with policies and procedures set out by the governance (Steering Council) approved by CIHR. This may include invitation for Corporate Partners to be represented on the Strategic Partnership and Innovations Committee of the Steering Council. The interactions between the SPOR Network and its Members (Investigators, Government Agencies, NGOs) with the Corporate Private Sector Partners are anticipated to result in mutual gains and benefits that are desirable and natural outcomes of being involved in the SPOR Network. Such interactions will be conducted within the framework of the SPOR Network Conflict of Interest Policy and procedures (as required by CIHR).
Purpose of the Policy for SPOR Network Sponsor Partner Relations
The purpose of this Policy is to reflect the framework for relationships between public and private sponsor partners and Diabetes Action Canada – the SPOR Network in Diabetes and Its Related Complications. This Policy focuses on protecting the integrity of the SPOR Network’s name, brand, and reputation, while enabling productive relationships that further the mission and goals of the SPOR Network.
For the purpose of this Policy, a corporation is broadly defined as:
- limited companies (those that are incorporated), including publicly traded and non-public corporations;
- sole proprietorships;
- crown corporations;
- non-governmental organizations or not-for-profit organizations; or,
- foundations formed to carry out philanthropic activities on behalf of a national corporation.
Procedures for Entering into Relationships with Public and Private Sponsor Partners
The SPOR Network will undertake a risk assessment of each potential relationship with a sponsor partner to determine if the Network’s reputation could be adversely affected. The SPOR Network will also assess the potential impact of the relationship in achieving the overall goals of the SPOR Network. These assessments will be conducted by the SPOR Network Steering Council. The eligibility of sponsorship will be advised by the Co-Scientific leads and, as necessary, by specific investigators or co-investigators who represent the respective interest of patient or other groups engaged in activities supported by the sponsors. Any relationship developed with a corporation may not contravene SPOR Network procedures, organizational rules or policies. Any real or perceived conflict of interest with potential public or private sponsor partners must be declared by the members of the Steering Council and Operations/Management Committee in advance of the assessment process and on an ongoing basis according to the Policy on Conflict of Interest. The terms of agreement between the SPOR Network and Sponsor Partner will include, among other things, procedures about “use of name” including logos and word marks of both parties.
The SPOR Network will not typically endorse a commercial product or service. An “endorsement” is an explicit statement of approval that gives direct support for a product or service, its claims and its properties. If endorsement is to be considered, the Steering Council must first evaluate the product or service with advice from the Operations/Management Committee. Since the general public perceives close linkage among the terms “endorsed”, “recommended”, and “approved” the SPOR Network will consider these as synonymous.
Whenever possible and feasible, the SPOR Network will seek funding for initiatives from a variety of sponsor partners. It is understood that occasions may arise where a sole sponsor is appropriate. However, the SPOR Network will not enter into relationships that involve agreements of total exclusivity that would restrict interested competing sponsor partners from working with the SPOR Network on other initiatives.
The SPOR Network will, as appropriate, maintain content control and/or approve the content of all information and health promotion resources resulting from sponsor partner relationships including the use of the SPOR Network brand (logo and word mark) and trademarks. The SPOR Network will use disclaimers as necessary on all such information and health promotion resources.
Role of Sponsor Partners in the SPOR Network
Those NGOs that have been recognized by the CIHR SPOR Program as relevant representatives for patients (Canadian Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) may have representation on the highest level of governance for the SPOR Network (the Steering Council) with voting privileges. Since these NGOs have also contributed revenues (matching funds) to the SPOR Network for projects conducted by the SPOR Network, they are also Sponsor Partners. Therefore, these NGOs are considered “Patient Representative Sponsor Partners”.
Any other corporation with whom the SPOR Network has entered into a funding relationship are deemed “Sponsor Partners” under the definition of SPOR Network Membership. From time to time, the SPOR Network may also nominate representatives from corporations to serve as non-voting members on the SPOR Network Steering Council committees, e.g., Strategic Partnerships and Innovations Committee. The Steering Council will approve the proposed nominations of the sponsor partners.
Role of SPOR Network Representatives in Sponsor Partner corporations
SPOR Network staff or members may at their own discretion act in an advisory capacity to sponsor partners. However, in acting in that capacity, they shall not represent the SPOR Network unless pre-approved by the SPOR Network Steering Council. The individual shall provide an oral or written disclaimer (as appropriate) to the corporation stating that the views expressed are his/her own, and not those of the SPOR Network.