Collaborative contracts with third parties

The majority of funding that we secure to conduct research is won from external funders (e.g. Research Councils, Charities, EU) through competitive funding calls. At Aston we also enter into collaborative contracts with industrial, third sector or clinical partners to conduct research. This process covers CASE studentships, consultancy agreements (where an Aston member of staff is the consultant and is conducting the consultancy through the University), Research Agreements and Clinical trials or study agreements. In these cases, the following process applies:
Process diagram depicting Aston's policy for Collaborative Contracts
Full process details


  1. The Academic and relevant Business Development Manager agree the project scope (involving Research Integrity Manager for Clinical projects or projects using human tissue, also involving the relevant facility manager eg. Dr Karen Woodhall for and projects that involve use of the Aston Brain Centre)
  2. The Business Development Manager liaises with the Research Finance team for a costing (100% FEC for collaborative research, 120% FEC for contract research dependent on intellectual property ownership).
  3. Business Development Manager liaises with the Awards and Contracts Specialist who uses the latest template agreement available via OGC.
  4. The Business Development Manager provides the commercial terms to the Awards and Contracts Specialist who completes the draft agreement.
  5. For clinical contracts, the contract should also be checked by OGC, Insurance and Research Integrity Manager.
  6. Confirm the other party is compliant with Aston’s policy on acceptance of funding where reputational or ethical challenges arise policy.
  7. Credit check completed (by the Commercial Credit Controller) to determine if the company has the funds to support the contract and to determine the invoicing terms.
  8. The Business Development Manager and Contracts and Awards Specialist review any changes requested by the contracted party including commercial terms. For unusual/difficult cases, discussions will have been had at Director level within RKE before referring to OGC and any significant changes (as deemed by a Director or Contracts and Awards Specialist) to boiler plate clauses are then referred to OGC by the Contracts and Awards Specialist for review (e.g. liability provisions, indemnities, force majeure or termination).
  9. Changes to commercial terms (e.g publication, costs, IP, duration of agreement) RKE negotiate to ensure that finance model matches the terms and academic is in agreement.
  10. The final version is checked by a RKE Director as part of the ARCP sign off process and there is assurance that the contract will be executed in a timely fashion in accordance with the University’s Financial and Legal Regulations specifically, delegated authorities.
  11. A scan of the signed agreement is saved on the RKE shared drive and within the ARCP record, and is also sent to the third party. The contract and credit check are provided to Finance to enable them to set up the grant code and conduct post award management.