Policy Academic Governance Collaborative Research Procedure

Collaborative Research Procedure

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Research can involve a wide range of collaborations within institutions, between institutions, with industry, government, not-for-profit sectors and internationally. Collaborative research raises specific issues that must be negotiated, including differences in research methodology, research practices and variations in regulatory and legal systems. It also includes the management of funding and intellectual property arrangements, organisational structures and research cultures.

This Procedure provides advice to ensure compliance with the JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Research Code) throughout collaborative research projects, including research conducted with overseas institutions or research conducted outside Australia. Some of the definitions and other text in this Procedure are reproduced from the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Collaborative Research Guide.


This procedure applies to all University staff and students involved in research collaborations.


Research Project Leader

An individual who has primary responsibility for the planning, design, approval and conduct of a research project from its conception through to its finalisation. For collaborative research involving researchers at more than one institution, one researcher from each participating institution may be considered a designated Research Project Leader.


1.  University Responsibilities

Collaborative agreements

All collaborative research projects that involve JCU should be governed by an agreement with all project partners prior to the commencement of the research project. Agreements must be in writing and may take various forms including a legal agreement or contract or an exchange of letters.

Regardless the nature of the agreement, the relevant JCU research administrators and legal officers will ensure that an agreement complies with the JCU Research Code and its supporting Procedures including Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Procedure, and any applicable laws, policies and regulations, including funding body requirements and executed according to the JCU financial delegation policy. They will also engage with the Research Project Leader to ensure that the terms and responsibilities of any agreement are clearly understood and are accepted by researchers participating in the research project.

Considerations for a Collaborative Agreement

A number of specific issues need to be addressed in a collaborative research agreement prior to the commencement a research project, these should include but are not limited to:

  • Clearly defined expectations of each party in terms of definitions of roles and responsibilities, including the designation of the institution or individuals that will take the lead in reporting to funders, regulatory bodies or in the management of potential breaches of the Research Code
  • the use, management, sharing, and ownership of research data, source material, and intellectual property (including copyright and pre-existing intellectual property belonging to individual parties that is shared in the course of the collaborative research)
  • access to research data, primary materials and other items that are retained at the end of the project, including any open access requirements
  • the ongoing ownership, stewardship or control of research data and primary materials in the event a researcher or institution leaves the collaboration during the project
  • the requirements for the disclosure and management of conflicts of interest
  • the allocation of responsibilities in relation to ethics approvals and safety clearances
  • the management of confidentiality issues
  • the protocols for authorship and acknowledgement of research outputs, including data outputs
  • funding arrangements (with funding sources declared transparently)
  • plans to commercialise research outputs and any entitlements to commercial returns, if any
  • the designation of which party or parties are entitled to speak on behalf of the collaboration
  • dispute resolution procedures
  • the procedures for managing and investigating potential breaches of the Research Code, including provisions for the disclosure, where necessary, of researchers’ personal information to other collaborative institutions and, where relevant, funders, to facilitate the management and investigation of potential breaches of the Research Code.

2.  Researcher Responsibilities

Developing Collaborative Research Agreements

Research Project Leaders are responsible for developing and monitoring research agreements for their collaborative projects. Leaders will actively engage- in identifying issues relating to the project that should be addressed in the agreement, as well as monitoring the adherence to, and effectiveness of, the agreement throughout the course of the collaborative research project.

It is the Research Project Leader’s responsibility to ensure that all members of the research project team understand the terms of the research agreement.

Compliance with multi-institutional agreements and University policies

All researchers involved in collaborative research projects must comply with all JCU policies and written agreements that govern the conduct of the project, for example, Research Code, ethics guidelines, management of research data and primary materials and intellectual property policy.

3.  Breaches of the Research Code

Any potential breaches of the Research Code will be managed in accordance with the JCU Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Procedure.

Related policy instruments

Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Procedure


NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance
Policy Sub-domainResearch Management

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Procedure established to support the Code for Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

Manager, Research Grants, Ethics and Integrity – Research and Innovation Services


collaboration, research agreement, research code, research contract, responsible conduct of research

Contact person

Manager, Research Grants, Ethics and Integrity