Research Contracts

This page provides an overview of the key issues that need to be considered in creating a contract for your project. Researchers are not expected to document contracts without assistance. Please contact JCU Connect for further advice and support.

Researchers must seek advice from JCU Connect before entering any discussions on legal or commercial terms with industry partners or external funding bodies. Without endorsement by JCU Connect, no agreement governing research activities can be signed off by the University.

Before an agreement for research can be signed by the JCU delegate, a completed Research Funding Approval Form needs to be submitted to JCU Connect. This form provides the sign-off from your College Dean (or equivalent) for your involvement and sets out what will be contributed by JCU and for what price. If the contract reflects your original proposal, then there is no need to complete a new Research Funding Approval Form.

Once the funding body or industry partner is happy to proceed and your College approves of your involvement in the proposed research activity, then preparing a contract for the project is the next step.

Agreements for research need to meet the expectations and requirements of all parties – the researcher as well as the client.

For the researcher, what matters is the capacity to use the project results in future work as well as the ability to publish those results. This makes it imperative to reach an agreement with the funding body or industry partner about what will happen to the outcomes of the project. Issues of control, access and use need to be settled upfront.

The Intellectual Property terms of any contract need to be carefully considered in order to protect those outcomes. New Intellectual Property (often referred to as Project IP) usually includes data. It is important to be clear about:

  • How the data is controlled, including storage and any copies
  • Who can use it, and what, – if any, – are the restrictions
  • Who can publish it, when and under what conditions
  • What the researcher is required to report on and whether this can be published; and
  • The treatment of student intellectual property

Depending on the project, the contract will also address a range of important issues, including:

  • Pricing
  • Project deliverables
  • Project milestones
  • Payment schedules
  • Project personnel
  • The treatment of confidential information

Authorities to sign contracts are detailed in the Council’s Delegations of Authority. These must be adhered to.

Once a fully executed contract is received by JCU Connect it will be processed with a signed Research Funding Approval Form through JCU Connect database (RIMS). The paperwork will then be forwarded to Financial and Business Services for action. Finance and Business Services will open an account for the project, advise the Chief Investigator or project leader of the account number and create the invoices. For further information setting up an account, please see the section Setting Up Your Research Grant and Managing Your Project.

For all contractual matters relating to research, contact the Research Contracts Officer at

Once you have developed and written a research contract, your next step is obtaining Research Ethics approval with the assistance of JCU Connect.