Research and Innovation Services


How long does it take to conclude a research contract?

Research contracts can take varying amounts of time to conclude. This is dependent on a number of factors aside from the general workload of the team, including:

  • The timely provision to the Research Contracts team of information concerning the proposed transaction
  • The type and nature of the transaction (e.g. is it routine or unusual; straightforward or complex);
  • The number and disposition of the other parties to any agreement;
  • The responses and responsiveness of the other parties to any agreement;

The overall time from initiation to conclusion of a given research contract can be anything from 1-2 working days for a straightforward agreement such as an NDA/CDA on UCL’s template terms, to a number months for a larger multi-party collaboration agreement.

We have outlined below some typical timeframes to aid expectation management, but stress that this is purely illustrative - each individual transaction naturally can and will vary in terms of the necessary time investment by UCL and the other parties in order to complete the placement of them, depending on the specific context:

We aim to conclude the majority of matters within 90 working days or less, but please take this as an aspirational target rather than fixed service standard – some will take significantly less time than this and others may take slightly more. Notwithstanding this we always aim to conclude matters as swiftly as possible under the circumstances.

TierAgreement & Activity Type - ExamplesApproximate Timeframe
1 – Higher complexityStrategic agreements; multi-party and/or multi-project agreements, including Master Services Agreements; high risk and/or potentially contentious matters; certain negotiated Tier 2 mattersVariable but usually 60-90 Days plus
2 – Intermediate complexityGovernment contracts (incl. NIHR / HTA etc.); UKRI-related collaborations; 1:1 collaborations (incl. studentships); certain negotiated Tier 3 mattersVariable but typically between 60-90 Days
3 - RoutineCharitable awards on pre-approved terms; NDAs on UCL’s terms; extensions / amendments / novations for straightforward projects; general forms and declarationsVariable but typically less than 60 Days

 It is important to note that researchers, including Heads of Department and Deans of Faculty are not empowered to sign research agreements on behalf of UCL as an institution. UCL's research contracts may only be approved and authorised (signed) by an authorised member of UCL Research Services, usually within the Research Contracts team, as per UCL's Financial Regulations.