Research Contracts FAQs
There are certain essential elements in a research contract, each of which require commitment, time and energy from both the researcher and the Office of Research:
- Drafting of Agreement and Intent
- Southern Cross University Legal and Insurance clearances
- Sign off by External Party
- Sign off by Southern Cross University
This process is outlined in the General Research Agreements Procedure (pdf).
Research work can commence as at the date the contract is signed or as stated in the contract itself. Starting work before this date is a bad idea. It can have ramifications for intellectual property (is it 'background intellectual property' or 'project intellectual property') and insurance, and can jeopardise the overall project.
No commitment or obligation is created before the contract is signed. Your funding body may not pay you if there isn't a contract in place.
Confidentiality agreements are a good idea when you are discussing a potential project with a new external party. Please contact the Office of Research to discuss your requirements.
Your ability to publish, and the approvals you may need to secure, will be governed by the terms of the agreement.
If you want to ensure publication rights, discuss this with the Office of Research during the drafting phase and they will ensure that the best publication rights possible are included in the agreement.
As a Project Officer you must:
- Read and understand all aspects of the contract.
- Read the entire contract, and note your obligations, and those of your staff and students who will be working on the project.
- Distribute copies of the contract to all staff members and students working on the project to read, understand and retain for their reference.
Obligations in the contract extend not only to you, but any Southern Cross University staff member that may also be working on the contract. You are responsible for management of the project in accordance with the contract. This includes complying with milestones, overseeing performance of subcontractors, reporting, records and confidentiality requirements.
The Contract Compliance Statement (CCS) is the mechanism used for the researcher and their Head of School/Centre Director to review and approve the 'final deal' of a project, before a contract is signed by Southern Cross University. Further information on who needs to sign and how to sign electronically can be found in the Contract Compliance Statement FAQ (pdf).