Research contract types and parties

Types of research contacts

Research contracts include any agreement relating to research. Legal Services will consult with Research Services to determine the type of contract required, but some examples include:

  • research funding agreements and grants
  • research consultancies
  • collaboration agreements with other organisations
  • intellectual property and licence agreements
  • material transfer agreements
  • memorandums of understanding
  • confidentiality agreements.


Determining the parties to a contract will depend on the contract type, proposed arrangements and any related agreements. The University should consider which parties should be legally bound, whether under the one agreement or any related agreements (see below). Details of all required parties should be provided to Legal Services in full, with the entity's full legal name, address and ABN.

The University itself is the party to a research contract, not individual centres, institutions, colleges or researchers, and only certain officers are authorised by Council to sign contracts on behalf of the University (refer to Legal Services' Contracts website).

Individual researchers are not authorised to enter or sign contracts on behalf of the University. In some situations, there may be a requirement for a researcher to sign a document personally (see [Moral rights] and [Confidentiality]). The University will advise a researcher if this is required.

Related agreements

More than one contract can be associated with a single project. For example, there may be an overarching funding agreement, separate agreements with collaborators and various subcontracts.

It is important to provide a complete picture of the project and copies of any related agreements with your instructions, as this may affect the necessary terms. For example, a head agreement may impose conditions for any subcontracts, there may be restrictions on use of information or funds, or intellectual property may be owned by another party and require approval before it can be used.

Tenders and applications

It is important for any contract terms included in a tender or application to be reviewed before the University submits a response. If the application is accepted, those terms may be legally binding on the University without any further opportunity to negotiate. Research Services will seek Legal Services' advice on the proposed terms and, if necessary, a statement of departures will be provided for submission with the tender.

Further information

If you have any queries, please contact Legal Services for advice on 9479 2495.

This article provides general information only. It is not a complete or definitive statement of the law on the subject matter. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to particular matters.