JCU Connect Research Contracts

Research Contracts

The Research and innovation Services Contracts Team supports the research community by ensuring that JCU researcher interests are protected when participating in a research project.

It is recommended that staff intending to conduct any commercial research services become familiar with the Financial Management Practice Manual and direct any queries in that regard to their own College or Directorate Finance Managers or to Research and innovation Services.

Private work conducted by staff independently of the University is governed by the Statement on Staff External Activities, which is administered by the Services and Resources Division.

Information on the account opening process can be obtained from the Financial and Business Services (FaBS) division.

Following are notes on some of the most important features of the commercial research process:

Research and innovation Services has developed a number of fact sheets to assist our research community understand our services.

In some cases, a staff member will make first contact with the client. When in early stages, it is recommended that staff contact the Research and innovation Services Development and Commercialisation team as they can assist and support in the preliminary negotiations with clients and costing contract research. It is preferred that Research and innovation Services is involved at the earliest opportunity. This will ensure that staff are made aware of critical elements of contract research, which include:

  1. Any written communications with a client should include a disclaimer that the contents of the communications are not legally binding upon JCU.
  2. Any negotiations with respect to potentially valuable intellectual property - ie. with commercial potential or with the potential to be used in further research - should be conducted with care and through Research and innovation Services.
  3. In situations where either JCU or the client will be disclosing confidential or commercially valuable information during the negotiation stage, a Confidentiality Agreement should be put in place between JCU and the client before negotiations commence. The JCU Contracts team can assist with the preparation of a Confidentiality Agreement using the Research and innovation Services template.
  4. Project pricing must be in accordance with JCU requirements (refer FMPM 621 Pricing Commercial and Non-Commercial Activities).

More detail can be found in Pricing: Grant, Contract and Consultancy Projects, where overheads budgeting and waivers are covered in more detail, along with some notes on pricing for commercial projects and the daily charge-out rates.

It is important that you do not undervalue your research.

If there is likely to be student involvement in a research project, please contact the Research and innovation Services Contracts team as early as possible. The Research and innovation Services Contracts team can assist with the preparation of an appropriate agreement with the student.

If the primary purpose of the project is to fund a research student stipend, particular care must be taken with negotiating terms and conditions, which may inhibit the use of the student of the research outcomes for their assessable work (including theses) or may result in difficulties in having such assessable work examined. The Research and innovation Services Contracts team can assist with the negotiation of such terms.

Where a contract will be funding a research student stipend, it is important that you contact the Graduate Research School to confirm stipend requirements.

If a research student is going to be involved in the performance of a project under a research contract, and particularly where the student is likely to be involved in the generation of any intellectual property, care must be taken with negotiating terms and conditions.

Before involving students in a project that is governed by a contract or agreement with an external entity, it is important that you consider the requirements of the JCU Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure, in particular Section 4.3.


  • JCU does not assert ownership of intellectual property created by students who are not engaged as employees of JCU for the performance of a project.
  • Students who are not engaged as employees of JCU for the performance of a project are not bound by the terms of any agreement between JCU and a client.

A separate agreement between JCU and the student is required to ensure that intellectual property rights are appropriately assigned or licensed and to ensure compliance with (and recognition of) JCU's contractual obligations.

It is preferred that a Research and innovation Services contract template, without amendment, is used for contract research work as this will reduce the contract preparation and negotiation time. If the client is agreeable to using the Research and innovation Services template contract, you should contact the Research and innovation Services Contracts team at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that the contract can be prepared and the expectations of both researcher and client can be met or compromised, without unrealistic expectations becoming entrenched.

However, the client may present you with a contract. If so, you should refer it to the Research and innovation Services Contracts team at the earliest draft stage. It is not unusual for the other party to not recognise the interests of researchers in their intellectual property provisions or to require warranties or indemnities that JCU is unable to give.

Signing of contracts on behalf of JCU must be in accord with Council's Delegations (refer to column 4.07). Please note the Director, Research and innovation Services can sign research contracts up to $2,000,000. The signature of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Research is required for research contracts with a value over $2,000,000. However, all contracts must be reviewed and approved by Research and innovation Services.

Once the research contract has been signed by JCU and the client, one copy will be retained with Research and innovation Services (and another by the client). A copy is then sent, by Research and innovation Services, to the Grants Finance team in Financial and Business Services (FaBS) for account opening. Invoicing is coordinated by Grants Finance.

The Research and innovation Services Contracts team will assist you in the preparation of appropriate research agreements with external parties.

Research and innovation Services has provided the below standard agreements (JCU login required). Each template has been designed for a specific purpose. Use of these standard agreements will enable JCU to enter into contracts quickly, and on acceptable terms and conditions. The standard agreements may be provided by you to 3rd parties for their consideration.

When you are ready to have an agreement prepared, please contact the Research and innovation Services Contracts team who will draft an agreement using either Research and innovation Services' standard templates or a bespoke form of agreement, if required.

Just a reminder that for any research agreements, you will need to obtain all necessary approvals, comply with relevant policies, and follow appropriate procedures.

The Australian Government has imposed export controls on defence and strategic goods and technologies in support of international efforts to stem the proliferation of conventional, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the systems that deliver them.  The primary body managing these controls is the Defence Export Control Office (DECO).

This page provides information and relevant links to assist researchers to comply with Defence Trade Control (DTC) regulations.

Learn more

Useful Links

Contact the Research and innovation Services Contracts team

Submit an online general enquiry form or email contractsconnect@jcu.edu.au.

Photo of Naomi Galvin

Naomi Galvin

Project Manager, Contracts