Research and Innovation Services


Best practice – How can you help?

Find out how you can help ensure the timely placement of contract arrangements.

Research contracting is best served by an open and collaborative approach between researchers and our Award Services team. We also strongly encourage you to get in touch with our Contract Services team as soon as possible regarding your plans to ensure the timely placement of fit-for-purpose contract arrangements.

Research contracts best practice

Please do

  • 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 can advise and provide suitable documentation
  • Discuss the research project details with your collaborator(s) so that all parties are clear about their respective contributions, expectations, and activities
  • Ensure that you fully cost your project and it has been approved through Worktribe, and have discussed 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 the 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.

Please don't

  • Disclose any valuable information relating to your background Intellectual Property (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 details 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.

Additional considerations


Research contracts can take variable amounts of time to complete, depending on the context. This can be a few weeks or even months in some cases but the process can be expedited provided that all relevant background information has been given to your Contracts Manager as early as possible. Contracts Services aim to finalise contracts as soon as possible (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 used, and how quickly the external funder turns around the agreement. 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 acts as the sole point of contact for both you and the funder to help simplify the contracting process at UCL’s end.

I'm planning to work with another organisation/individual and may need a contract. Who should I contact?

Get in touch with your departmental Award Services contact for advice.