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Additional information on agreement types

Grant Agreement

All grants will generally have terms and conditions attached, and it is important that the PI understands them - although they are sometimes quite brief. For funders such UKRI, Research Contracts are not involved in the grant ‘agreement’ – however, we are often required to review grant terms prior to application and provide comment or obtain approvals.

Grant Agreements will mostly involve Research Contracts where there is (generally limited) scope for negotiation of terms, or where a formal signature is required. In these circumstances, the Grant Agreement will be passed to Research Contracts as part of the Award process. This is managed by RES Project Setup team, so in many cases we will not need any involvement from the PI as the information will have been provided at Application stage; however, sometimes we do need clarification on certain terms, such as what intellectual property is being provided to the project, so we know that the terms are appropriate. For these projects there is no ‘standard’ set of questions, so we will explain what information we need as required, and all we ask in those circumstances as that the PI provides it to us as quickly as possible so as to minimise delays to the setup of the project. 

Contract Research

Where the scope of a project has been drawn up with or by the funder (e.g. a commercial partner) and the funder gains some benefit from the work, this is a different relationship than under a grant. In some cases (where there is an open call for tenders) the process might be similar and be led by Research Development rather than Research Contracts at the point of Application, and passed to Research Contracts later, like a grant.  In other cases (where there is a direct approach or the project arises out of an existing relationship, for instance) Research Contracts would lead.

In each case we classify the project as Contract Research.  Where Research Development has led an application, we work in much the same way as grant, and we will be tasked by the Project Setup team. However, in the most cases the instruction for the project needs to come directly from the PI to their Contracts Manager.  These are some of the most heavily negotiated agreements and often we need to confirm a lot of information with you. The more you provide from the start, the quicker the process should be. We are likely to need:

  • Details of the resources required to deliver the project (so we can get it properly costed) – we have a form that will help you work out what is needed.
  • Clear details of who the funder(s) is/are (so we can carry out background checks on them)
  • A point of contact we can negotiate with
  • Details of any pricing discussions that have been had (NB this shouldn’t happen until the project has been properly costed according to the current Pricing Policy)
  • A clearly defined Project scope, with any agreed deliverables
  • Confirmation of the location of delivery (some funders will want us to accept certain terms if we are visiting their premises, for instance)
  • Start and end dates
  • Confirmation of any materials (e.g. samples) that will be transferred as part of the project, in either direction
  • Confirmation of any personal data that will be processed as part of the project
  • Expectations of whether useful IP will be produced and whether it be commercially viable
  • Confirmation of any previous discussions as to who will own the results of the project
  • Confirmation of what University or third-party intellectual property might be used in he projects
  • Any agreed project management arrangements
  • Confirmation of any planned subcontractors
  • Confirmation of any involvement of students
  • Whether the project has any recruitment requirements

For direct approach contract research, a survey tool which will guide you through the information required.

Studentship

Studentship Agreements cover everything from a fully funded studentship, where an industry partner might provide full fees, a UKRI-level stipend, and cover additional costs, to agreements under which top-up funding is provided for a UKRI-funded student, and various points in between. They can also be quite heavily negotiated, especially where the partner has not been involved in such a project before.  Like Contract Research, we often need a significant amount of information in order to make sure the agreement is fit for purpose:

  • Provision of the Grad School proforma if already completed in relation to the project
  • Confirmation of Supervisors/Co-Supervisors
  • Confirmation of fee level i.e. whether student is full time/part time, at Reading/by distance, UK or RoI/International
  • Clear details of who the funder(s) is / are (so we can carry out background checks on them) - Address / company number where possible
  • A point of contact we can negotiate with
  • Details of any pricing discussions that have been had
  • A clearly defined Project scope, with any agreed deliverables
  • Start and end dates
  • Confirmation of any materials (e.g. samples) that will be transferred as part of the project, in either direction
  • Confirmation of any personal data that will be processed as part of the project
  • Expectations of whether useful IP will be produced and whether it be commercially viable
  • Confirmation of any previous discussions as to who will own the results of the project
  • Confirmation of what University or third-party intellectual property might be used in the projects
  • Any agreed supervisory/update arrangements

For Studentships, a survey tool will guide you through the information required to set up a new contract.  

Collaboration/consortium

Although we don’t deal with all Grant Agreements, many grants also have co-applicants, collaborators or project partners - a pre-agreed consortium of organisations working together on a specific project.  Where those parties are recipients of funding or expected to work together with each other as well as Reading to deliver the project, need access to the intellectual property produced in the project, or are providing access to specific intellectual property themselves, we are likely to need an agreement which governs the conduct of the consortium, covering funding arrangements, project management, ownership and licensing of intellectual property, data processing and so on.  In most cases we will need a fairly detailed (but generally relatively standard) agreement to be put in place.  

Most of the time these agreements will be tasked by the RES Project Setup team so there is no immediate action for the PI, and Research Contracts can obtain most of the information we need from the system we share across RES.  However, we may need to clarify with you points such as personal data processing or material transfer, where this is not clear from the scope.

Project Partner Agreement

Sometimes in a collaborative project, a partner has only a relatively minor role (e.g. involvement on a Steering Committee but not actually delivering any work) and we might place a simpler agreement, often in the form of a letter.  Similarly, to consortium agreements, these will be tasked by the RES Project Setup team so there is generally no requirement for PIs to request these to be drafted.

KTP Agreement

KTPs – Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – have their own set of agreements, both with Innovate UK and with the partner organisations.  KTPs are managed through their lifecycle by the Knowledge Transfer Centre, and they will liaise with Research Contracts to ensure the relevant information is passed on.

Research Subcontract

As a general rule, where a grant application includes a named subcontractor, and the grant was awarded on the basis that that organisation would be involved in the project, the agreement will be placed by Research Contracts. It is important to note that, if a subcontractor is named in the grant as an example, e.g. to illustrate costs, or if there is no specific subcontractor named at all, the agreement will need to go through standard Procurement processes (which will vary depending on the value).
Research Subcontracts may be flagged by the RES Project Setup team – however, in many cases the subcontract is not required at the start of the project so PIs should contact researchcontracts@reading.ac.uk to request a subcontract to be placed in good time prior to the start of delivery of the services.  Many details of the project will be available to us already through our systems, but we may need you to confirm:
  • The project the subcontract relates to (e.g. the ‘H’ code provided to you by Research Accounts)
  • Address/company details of the subcontractor
  • A point of contact we can negotiate with
  • The scope of work to be delivered by the subcontractor, with any agreed deliverables
  • Whether we have a formal quote from the subcontractor
  • Start and end dates
  • any materials (e.g. samples) that will be transferred as part of the project, in either direction
  • any personal data that will be processed as part of the project
  • confirmation of SAW and ESQ (if required – see below) 
Where the value of the subcontract is above £25,000 you will need to complete a Single Action Waiver (this is a Procurement process which records the requirement not to place the work under a competitive process); and if the subcontractor is an individual, an Employee Status Questionnaire (which relates to tax status of the individual) will need to be completed before the contract is negotiated as they ensure, although Research Contracts are responsible for negotiating the agreement, that we comply with relevant legislation.

Subaward

Some funded projects require the University to manage a budget and select subprojects to fund from it, either by internal or external competition.  These arrangements are different from subcontracts, but the agreements will be managed by Research Contracts.  Much of the detail will be held in our systems as the competitions are often managed by RES colleagues, however we may still need you to confirm:

  • The project the subaward relates to (e.g. the ‘H’ code provided to you by Research Accounts)
  • Address/company details of the sub-awardee
  • A point of contact we can negotiate with
  • The scope of work to be delivered by the sub-awardee, with any agreed deliverables
  • Start and end dates
  • any materials (e.g. samples) that will be transferred as part of the project, in either direction
  • any personal data that will be processed as part of the project

If we do need additional information, we will contact you.

Confidentiality/non-disclosure

Confidentiality Agreements, or CDAs (Confidential Disclosure Agreements) or NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) provide for confidentiality between the parties, usually for early-stage discussion, i.e. the information can be shared without fully releasing it to the public domain. This can be useful for the University – for instance if you need to discuss research that hasn’t been published, or which might be patentable, or otherwise commercially valuable; and for commercial partners to protect their commercial interests.

Several departments can issue NDAs. where the requirement relates to a research project (past or future) please use our self-service system which will ask a short series of questions and allows us to automatically generate the agreement which we will then issue. You will need first of all to carry out due diligence on the company to ensure it is an organisation we are happy to work with.