Research and Innovation Services


Best practice – How can you help?

The work of research contracting is best served by an open and collaborative approach between researchers and the Award Services office. We strongly encourage initiating early discussion with the Contract Services team regarding your plans in order to ensure the timely placement of fit-for-purpose contract arrangements.

  • Contact the Contracts Manager responsible for your academic department at an early stage
  • Consider putting in place a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) with your collaborator(s) before undertaking any detailed discussions on proposed projects – your Contracts Manager will be able to advise and provide suitable documentation
  • Discuss the research project details with your collaborator(s) in order that all parties are clear about their respective contributions, expectations and activities
  • Ensure that you fully cost your project and have it approved through Worktribe (guidance available from the RS Pre-Award team) as well as discussing the contract price with your Contracts Manager
  • Set a realistic time frame for the start date and delivery of the project and manage expectations accordingly
  • Make sure that you and your Contracts Manager are aware of any deadlines for conclusion of the contract
  • Provide your Contract Manager with all necessary information/contacts, ideally by completion of a Worktribe proposal or a Contract Information Form
  • Disclose any valuable information relating to your background IP – in particular if it has been subject to any previous patents and/or license or other agreements
  • Agree the price of your contract or share any detail concerning the breakdown of the budget with the funder / collaborator until a UCL costing has been approved and discussed with your Contracts Manager
  • Agree to assign or otherwise commit any arising IP from the project until you have discussed the details of the project with your Contracts Manager
  • Agree any restrictions on your rights to publish until you have discussed the details of the project with your Contracts Manager
  • Sign any agreements on behalf of UCL as the legal party
  • Provide any template agreements  to your collaborator unless agreed with your Contracts Manager
  • Assume that UCL can accept the same terms for a new project that may have been agreed under a previous arrangement with the same collaborator / funder

Please Note:

  • Research contracts can take variable amounts of time to complete, depending upon the context. This can be a few weeks or even months in some cases, but in general can be expedited provided that all relevant background information has been provided to your Contracts Manager as early as possible. The Research Contracts team aim to get each contract finalised as soon as possible (and within 90 days of receiving all the required information from the PI in the majority of cases).
  • The overall time required also depends on whether UCL’s template is utilised, as well as how speedily the external funder turns around the agreement under discussion. This can vary on a case-by-case basis, due to the funder’s internal administrative processes and/or the need to seek external legal advice. Your Contracts Manager represents a sole point of contact for both you and the funder, which generally simplifies the contracting process at UCL’s end.

I plan to undertake work with another organisation or individual and think that I may need a contract - who should I contact?

You should contact the allocated member of Research Services in order to provide advice on how to proceed. A list of Award Services contacts by department can be found on the main page of our website.