Contract Negotiation

Some research funding will require a contract between the University and the sponsor. Research Grants will not make a grant account active until the contract is fully executed.

Contract development and review

Any proposed research contracts must be referred to Research Grants and will be reviewed by a Contracts Officer, and in some instances, the Legal Office. This is to protect the interests of the University and the researchers. Research Grants or the Contracts Officer will provide advice back to the Chief Investigator and can negotiate with the sponsor for amendments to the contract, if necessary. For example, insurance, indemnity, indirect costs, ownership of intellectual property rights and protection of the rights of researchers to publish their results are issues that sometimes require negotiation.

The Legal Office has developed a number of template contracts to engage third parties in an efficient, professional, consistent, and risk-conscious way. University staff can download the templates from the Legal Office Services Portal. Using an unchanged University template contract ensures prompt approval enabling projects to commence. The delegation of authority still applies.

The Contracts Officer can also prepare a research contract, based on the University's standard form of contract, which can be adapted to meet the needs of the particular project.

Please consult Research Grants about other research-related legal issues, including intellectual property agreements, material transfer agreements, and research student scholarship agreements.

Multi-institutional or collaborative agreements

A multi-institutional or collaborative agreement may be required if University-administered research grants are shared with other institutions. Multi-institutional/collaborative agreements are generally always required for ARC and NHMRC grants.

Contract obligations

The Lead Chief Investigator is responsible for all relevant obligations in a contract. It is important all Chief Investigators are aware of their obligations and responsibilities, including ensuring the project-specific information, such as milestones, budgets and reporting, is accurate. The Lead Chief Investigator will need to confirm in writing to Research Grants or the Contracts Officer they have reviewed and approve of the contract details prior to the University authorised delegate signing the contract.

Contract execution

The responsibility for accepting research grants and signing research contracts rests with the University, not the individual researcher. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) has a delegation of authority to sign such documents on behalf of the University. Once a contract has been signed by the University it will be returned to the sponsor directly. Upon receipt of a fully executed contract, Research Grants will continue with the establishment of the grant.

Please see the Delegation of Authority Policy in the UON Policy Library and the Schedule of Operational Sub-Delegations (Category 6 - Research) for further information about authority to sign research contracts.


The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.