In the proposal phase potential participants develop ideas for joint research activities. Potential project partners should know what knowledge they each bring, what they may need from others, what the state of the art is in the field of the project, and should develop a strategy on protection, use and dissemination of the future results. Such activities require discussions, exchange of information and ideas between the potential participants. Exchanging information with other potential partners is, thus, a necessity while planning a project proposal.
To avoid any eventual misappropriation and use of such information it is therefore advisable to conclude a non-disclosure agreement (also known as confidentiality agreement) before entering in negotiations for the submission of the proposal. This agreement establishes the conditions under which partners disclose information in confidence. Confidentiality obligations may be also included in a so called memorandum of understanding (MoU). This agreement defines the framework of the negotiations between applicants and is generally concluded in the very beginning of the negotiations for submitting a proposal.