Contract & Commercial FAQs

Research Services FAQs Contract & Commercial FAQs

FAQs - Commercial Research and Consultancy Services

Clicking a question will scroll down the page to our answer.

What is the difference between a grant (sponsored research), contract research and a consultancy?

I want to submit an application for a tender. Is there anything that I need to inform Research Services or others?

Who signs the agreement or contract for a successful research tender or proposal?

Should I negotiate the terms of the contract with the client?

A client has presented a contract to me for a consultancy/contract research. What do I do?

Do I lodge the tender submission or does Research Services do this?

Do I need to have a separate account set up for a small contract research project?

Who does the invoicing?

Does the Client or JCU draft the contract for a consultancy?

What happens to the signed contract/agreement?

Where can I look for tenders?

How long does it take for a contract/agreement to be signed?

What can delay negotiating and executing a contract?

My activities may involve collection of biological material for further investigation.  Is there a requirement to notify anyone?

My activities may involve the supply and/or publication of controlled military and "dual use" goods and technologies. Is there a requirement to notify anyone?

If I already deliver a course on a consultancy basis, what is the procedure for developing the contract to deliver it to another organisation?

A client wants to contract our services for a project and for us to subcontract other parties. What do we do?

Would a donation be processed in the same manner as a contract agreement?

The tender document asks for a signed Statutory Declaration. Who is able to sign this at JCU?

I have completed a consultancy, payment by the client has been made to JCU and overheads have been taken out. How do I access the incentive margin of the consultancy?

I am submitting a proposal for a tender. The RFT document specifies that intellectual property rights will not reside with the contracted party. I will have students involved in the project, what do I need to do?

The Request for Tender terms and conditions include a clause that authors must waive their Moral Rights in relation to the material they produce under the agreement. What do I need to do to meet this requirement?

Should I discuss my intent to apply for a tender with my Dean of College before the submitting?

The tender documents ask for certificates of currency for public liability, workers compensation and professional indemnity. Where do I find these?

The tender document asks for CVs of the researchers to be included in the submission. What format should I use?

A private company has agreed to provide funding towards my PhD. What do I do next?

OUR ANSWERS

What is the difference between a grant (sponsored research), contract research and a consultancy?

Sponsored Research occurs where:

  • the funding is frequently proposal driven on a competitive basis;        

  • the research is mainly basis or strategic but not usually concerned with commercial outcomes; and        

  • the intellectual property results are owned by universities.        

Examples of sponsored research include the major project funding by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Contract Research occurs where:

  • a request is made by industry or a Government agency for a specified research project to be carried out with identified aims and objectives;        

  • the research project is often undertaken on the basis of a competitive bid for funds from an agency;        

  • it is anticipated the research will result in a deliverable product or report of commercial importance to industry;        

  • researchers can expect to be able to produce peer-reviewed publications; and        

  • ownership of intellectual property is negotiated between the parties and may depend on the financial and intellectual contribution of both parties.        

Consultancy occurs where:

  • the project involves buying the skills and expertise (pre-existing know how) of university staff and equipment to work on a specified project; and        

  • the sponsor may seek to own any intellectual property and may also expect complete confidentiality on the part of the university, thus negating any publication opportunities.        

For further details refer to the Research and HERDC page.

I want to submit an application for a tender. Is there anything that I need to inform Research Services or others?

First you should contact Research Services. Often, tenders are submitted on the basis that submission implies acceptance of the tender terms and conditions, leaving little scope for variation of standard sponsor terms and conditions after award. Therefore, we ask that researchers  email  a copy of the Terms and Conditions of the tender and tender application to Research Services for legal review and comment before it is submitted.

Please note the following delegations apply to submission of research only tenders/responses/proposals. Such delegations should only be exercised on the advice of Research Services and with Head of School Project Approval.

Authority to submit tenders/responses or sign agreements/contracts for the provision of commercial research and research or non research consultancy services

This policy applies to any commercial or non-commercial activity.                

Function

Responsibility of

Approval of a non-commercial or commercial activity or project, including pricing, with a total value of less than $500,000 (GST exclusive)                

Relevant Dean of College, Directors of Institutes or equivalent                

Approval of a non-commercial or commercial activity or project, including pricing, with a total value equal to or greater than $500,000 (GST exclusive)                

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor                

 

Policy: For more information, refer to JCU Policy FMPM 620: Financial Management Practice Manual.

Delegations: Refer to Section 4 of FMPM 620 Appendix A – Delegations Policy of JCU’s Financial Practice Manual for detailed information.

Who signs the agreement or contract for a successful research tender or proposal?

The Director, Research Services or Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Refer to Section 4 of Appendix A – Delegations Policy of JCU’s Financial Practice Manual for detailed information.

Should I negotiate the terms of the contract with the client?

Terms of commercial and non-commercial contracts must be negotiated through the University. All consultancies must be undertaken though the University unless formal written exemption is obtained (refer Human Resource Policy on Staff External Activities)

A client has presented a contract to me for a consultancy/contract research. What do I do?

You need to refer it to Research Services 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. Please also note that the contract can  only be signed by those with appropriate delegations as above. Please ensure that pricing is in accordance with policy

All contracts and agreements (including variations) must be entered into by the University and not by the individual staff member undertaking the work.

Do I lodge the tender submission or does Research Services do this?

Research Services will lodge the tender submission unless the tendering body requires it be submitted online or electronically. If this is the case then you need to provide a final copy of the submission to Research Services for their records.

Do I need to have a separate account set up for a small contract research project?

Based on information provided by Research Services, a separate project account is established by FaBS if:

  1. activity/project revenue can be counted towards the Higher Education Research Data Collection [HERDC] as research income;    

  2. financial reporting is required; or    

  3. the value of the activity / project is $10,000 or more.    

A separate project account is generated upon execution of the contract/agreement and where relevant obtaining of Ethics approval.

For research activities, a project account may be created earlier in limited circumstances upon written request to the Director, Research Services.

Indirect costs (overheads) are applied at the time the account is established based on the activity/project pricing budget, unless otherwise directed by the Dean of College.

If revenue is received in excess of the original budget (e.g. if the activity/project contract is extended), then indirect costs (overheads) will be applied to the additional income on the same basis as the original terms, unless otherwise directed.

The respective Grants Finance team in Financial and Business Services (FaBS) is responsible for financial reporting and invoicing for project accounts.

Refer to Procedure FMPM 621 Financial Management Practice Manual for more information on procedures to follow related to pricing of contracts.

Who does the invoicing?

The relevant Grants Finance team within FaBS will invoice the client once:

  1. The contract has been appropriately signed by both parties;    

  2. An Application Cover Sheet has been completed and processed through Research Services;    

  3. Ethics approvals have been granted, where necessary; and    

  4. Approval to open the account has been given by Research Services. FaBS generally creates an account within 2-3 days of receiving approval from Research Services.    

Does the Client or JCU draft the contract for a consultancy?

Either. Our preference is for Research Services to draft the contract for the client to consider for signing (our template contains favourable IP and publication terms) however in many cases clients insist on using theirs. Contact Research Services at the earliest possible opportunity, to ensure that the  expectations of both researcher and client can be met.

What happens to the signed contract/agreement?

Once the agreement has been signed by JCU and the client, an original should end up with Research Services (and the other with the client). A copy is then sent to Grants Finance team within FaBS for account opening and will be attached to the Project Account in FinWeb. Invoicing is handled by Grants Finance  team.

Where can I look for tenders?

Places to look for tender opportunities include:

  • The Weekend Australian    

  • Saturday’s Courier Mail    

  • The business section of the local newspaper    

  • The Australian Government Tender System

  • Queensland Local Government Tenders

  • Queensland Government eTendering website

  • Northern Territory Government Tenders Online

How long does it take for a contract/agreement to be signed?

As the university does not have control over the length of time it takes to negotiate with a funding organisation or third party the process may vary. The following categories of contract can take longer to process:

  • Multi-party contracts (because these need to be reviewed and negotiated by all parties);    

  • Contracts with industry partners involving outcomes with commercial potential;    

  • Contracts with companies with overly bureaucratic processes (there are many);    

  • Contracts with Government (because the contractor may need to refer to a Legal Department outside of their immediate area).    

If you have reasons for a contract to be dealt with urgently or within a specified timeframe (e.g. the contractor has given a deadline for acceptance, delay in acceptance will cause financial hardship for a staff member or student who will be funded by the grant), please advise Jim Campbell Research Legal Officer (x15238) as early as possible so that an effort can be made to accommodate your needs.

What can delay negotiating and executing a contract?

  1. Mostly insufficient briefing of the University by the researcher - the Research Legal Officer may have insufficient information to be able to negotiate;    

  2. Researchers sometimes pre-negotiate terms which are contrary to University policy, and that may include underestimating costs;    

  3. Budget-associated issues (e.g. infrastructure costs, GST, etc);    

  4. Time taken by the client to process the contract.    

My activities may involve collection of biological material for further investigation. Is there a requirement to notify anyone?

Collection of biological material (whole or part plants, animals whether living or dead) for further investigation may fall under the legal requirements of the Biodiscovery Act. Please contact Mohan Sridhar, Associate, Innovation & Commercialisation (x16458), to discuss your plans and submit any permits required before collecting in the field.

My activities may involve the supply and/or publication of controlled military and "dual use" goods and technologies. Is there a requirement to notify anyone?

Supply and/or publication of goods, software and technologies listed in the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) is regulated under the Defence Trade Controls (DTC) Act 2012. If you believe you are working with goods, software and technologies listed on the DSGL, please contact Mohan Sridhar, Associate, Innovation & Commercialisation for further assessment of activities and to apply for any required permits before supply and/or publication of controlled goods/software/technologies. For more details on the DTC and to access the  DSGL please visit the Defence Export Control Office (DECO) homepage by clicking here. A self-assessment tool to help clarify whether the goods, software or technology used in your research are listed on the DSGL and thus controlled can also be found   here     .

If I already deliver a course on a consultancy basis, what is the procedure for developing the contract to deliver it to another organisation?

As delivering a course does not involve research as such you need to talk to the Commercial Services Office at JCU. The Commercial Services Office provides advice and recommendations on the content of agreements/contracts that are not research related.

A client wants to contract our services for a project and for us to subcontract other parties. What do we do?

In the event that a portion of the project is to be subcontracted then the subcontractors must enter into a formal agreement with the University that ensures that the obligations under the head agreement are passed through to the subcontractor. Subcontracting may require the principal’s permission.

Research Services will draft any necessary subcontract.

Would a donation be processed in the same manner as a grant or contract agreement?

Donations for specific research projects are processed by Research Services in the standard way as any other grant. Otherwise, donations for non-research related activities are processed by the Engagement Directorate.

For further information on how donations are received, please visit the Directorate of Engagement page.

The tender document asks for a signed Statutory Declaration. Who is able to sign this at JCU?

Statutory Declarations need to be signed in the presence of a Justice of Peace (JP). In the first instance researchers should contact their Divisional JP. Alternatively it may be referred to the Research Services, Research Legal Officer however you will need to arrange this in advance of the tender submission  date in case of unavailability, rather than on the day.

I have completed a consultancy, payment by the client has been made to JCU and overheads have been taken out. How do I access the incentive margin of the consultancy?

It will be up to the Dean of College as to how much of the salary component from a consultancy is transferred to the researcher’s Individual Research Account (IRA) or Discretionary Budget Allocation (DBA) account. The process for transferring the funds between accounts will be a matter to be dealt with  at the College level.

Also refer to JCU Policy FMPM 620: Financial Management Practice Manual.

I am submitting a proposal for a tender. The RFT document specifies that intellectual property rights will not reside with the contracted party. I will have students involved in the project, what do I need to do.

If the tendered project outcomes are intended to be included in student theses you may have a problem. Terms that vest ownership of project IP in the client will most probably be inconsistent with an open, published thesis outcome.

The general rule is that students should not be included on a consultancy project team unless as hired research assistants with no expectation of accessing project results. Please refer to the further information on Students and IP.

The Request for Tender terms and conditions include a clause that authors must waive their Moral Rights in relation to the material they produce under the agreement. What do I need to do to meet this requirement?

Moral Rights are personal rights of an author: to be named as author of work s/he produces, to have no-one else named as author and to have the work treated with integrity. It is the University’s preference that Moral Rights not be affected by contract terms, but government funding contracts  in particular standardly do so for contracted reports.

If the tender is successful authors will need to provide this waiver in writing via an email to Research Services to the effect “I hereby waive my Moral Rights in relation to the project titled 'XXXX' in accordance with clause ‘XXX’ of the funding agreement. The Research Legal  Officer will provide further advice as to how this should be effected.

Should I discuss my intent to apply for a tender with my Dean of College before submission?

Yes. For various reasons:

  • Your Dean of College must be satisfied that the time you intend to spend on the project will fit with your research/teaching commitments.    

  • Your Dean of College must be satisfied that the project/company is not conflicting with the mandate of the School and that the nature of the work is suitable for JCU involvement.    

  • Once all the project costs have been fully spent, your Dean of College will decide on how any remaining income from the consultancy will be dealt with i.e. if a proportion may go back to the researcher through Individual Research Accounts (IRA) or Discretionary Budget Allocation (DBA acoounts or to a general College account. Please also refer to FMPM 621 Financial Management Practice Manual.    

The tender documents ask for certificates of currency for public liability, workers compensation and professional indemnity. Where do I find these?

Certificates of currency are available from the FaBS website.

The tender document asks for CVs of the researchers to be included in the submission. What format should I use?

It is appropriate to provide succinct CVs that are tailored to the tender. They should be no longer than 3-4 pages at a maximum. All CVs should be formatted with the same style, font, headings etc. This adds to the presentation of your document whilst also indicating a well coordinated team with the ability  to deliver a high quality final report or product. Tenderers may require you to use their own provided template for this purpose.

A private company has agreed to provide funding towards my PhD. What do I do next?

If the funding is a scholarship towards a living allowance or salary to complete your PhD then the matter would be dealt with through the Graduate Research School. However, if the company would like to provide funds towards a specific research activity, then Research Services will either develop a contract between the company and JCU or negotiate as necessary the terms in the company’s contract.

Your first step should be to contact the Research Legal Officer, Jim Campbell, on x15238.