Subject: Policy Statement on Research Contract Administration
Group: Institutional
Approved by: Provost and Vice-President, Academic & Research
Approval date: 1 September 2010
Administered by: Provost and Vice-President, Academic & Research

1 — PREAMBLE

This policy document provides direction for the administration of all research agreements, for the purpose of properly managing research funds other than those received from the Tri-Council granting agencies.

The administration of research agreements begins with the pre-award phase of review of proposals and contracts to determine the University’s ability to support them and sign for them.

If you expect to be compensated in addition to your usual salary for any research you may undertake, you should consult other appropriate documents, especially the Collective Agreement (article 12.03 and others) between Mount Allison University and the Mount Allison Faculty Association.

It is the responsibility of all researchers to consult with the Office of Research Services regarding this policy prior to submitting proposals to Sponsors.

2 — DEFINITIONS

Research grants are grants received under research with a public or private organization which provides funding to pay for all or part of the costs of a research project. Payment is not conditional on the researcher delivering to the sponsor a pre-determined set of research outcomes.
 
Research contracts (or contracted research) means any research agreement signed between the University and a Sponsor which, in exchange for payment of direct and indirect costs, sets out a task or tasks to be completed within a specified timeframe to arrive at an outcome, the results of which constitute a deliverable under the agreement. These results can be published in the scholarly literature following an appropriate deferral period.
 
Contribution agreements (or grants- in aid) are research agreements in which the project is predefined by consultation between the Principal Researcher and the sponsoring agency and differ from a Research Contracts as the conditions of timing of delivery and other terms are relaxed.
 
Contracts for research services (or service agreements) are research agreements of a more routine nature that still require specialized expertise or laboratory facilities to conduct the work. Provision of specialized or certified analytical services that are not routinely available from private sector laboratories is an example of a Contract for Research Services.
 
A Sponsor is defined as any entity which provides financial support for the completion of research.
 
The following table is for illustrative purposes only, to summarize the main differences in the types of funding sources for various types of research activities.

Work conceived and planned by investigator    
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): Subject area suggested by external organization, project idea initiated by investigator and jointly planned with external organization
Research contract: Work conceived by contractor or jointly with investigator. Both parties participate in planning
Research service contracts: Contractor defines work
 
Generic description of deliverables            
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): General description of deliverables with some flexibility in content and timing
Research contract: Specific deliverables with time lines    
Research service contracts: Specific deliverables with time lines

Payment fully committed in advance         
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): Payment may be fully committed in advance    
Research contract: Payment by installments on completion of deliverables
Research service contracts: Payment on completion of deliverables

No payment for Principal Investigator's time
               
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): No payment for Principal Investigator's time
Research contract: May include payment for Principal Investigator’s time
Research service contracts: May include payment for Principal Investigator’s time

Very limited or no restrictions on publication              
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): Very limited restrictions on publication
Research contract: Results may be confidential with restrictions and delays on publication
Research service contracts: Results are confidential with restrictions and delays on publication

Projects may be suitable for senior undergraduate or graduate students         
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): Projects may be suitable for senior undergraduate or graduate students
Research contract: Publication restrictions may make projects unsuitable for student research    
Research service contracts: Publication restrictions make projects unsuitable for student research

Intellectual Property owned by the Investigator and/or University         
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): Intellectual Property owned by the Investigator and/or University
Research contract: Intellectual Property owned by the contractor and/or the Investigator/ University    
Research service contracts: Little or no expectation of Intellectual Property

Investigator and/or University can sell commercial rights to third parties    
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): Investigator and/or University can sell commercial rights to third parties
Research contract: University may have research, teaching and non-commercial use rights only
Research service contracts: Results have no commercial resale value to University

No guarantee of a specific result
Contribution agreement (Grant in Aid): No guarantee of a specific result
Research contract: No guarantee of a specific result
Research service contracts: Generally routine work without a risk factor
   
(Adapted from University of Prince Edward Island)
 
3 — PRINCIPLES

The following principles are used to guide decision-making and implementation of this policy:

The University recognizes that most, if not all, funded research from sources other than the Tri-Council granting agencies are administered by a contract, even if they are not “research contracts” as defined in Section 2 of this policy.

The Principal Investigator (faculty or staff member) must retain the right to publish his/her work. A deferral of publication at the request of the contracting agency for a reasonable period of time may be agreed to by the Principal Investigator f it is clearly warranted by the nature of the work. Any exception to these provisions must be subject to a formal review procedure between the University and the Sponsor concerned.

The University’s duly authorized signing officers are the only ones who may sign a contract binding the university to the terms contained therein. In some cases individual faculty members or employees may also co-sign the contract, especially in cases where there are clauses concerning intellectual property, use of data, publishing rights, and so on, that the faculty member or employee, or the University, may be waiving the usual rights associated with publishing.

All researchers, whether faculty members, research assistants, research associates, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, or others, should be informed by the Principal Investigator of the conditions attached to any research contract in which it is proposed that they be involved.

4 — POLICY

It is the policy of the University that all research agreements involving the use of University facilities must be made between the Sponsor and the University through its duly authorized signing officers.

In no circumstances shall a faculty member or staff member solely sign a contract or accept a letter of offer which may bind the University in any way to the terms and conditions contained therein.

It is the policy of the University that the Office of Research Services will serve as the point of first contact for the development of research proposals and for the screening of contracts and letters of offer, before they are signed or accepted.
 
5 — PROCEDURE

Principal Investigators preparing proposals are required to notify the Office of Research Services that such a proposal is being prepared and deliver a copy of the terms of reference, call for proposals, draft proposed contract from the sponsor, acknowledgement forms, signature forms, or other relevant information, to the Director, such that the Office of Research Services can provide advice and guidance on the preparation of the proposal, budget, intellectual property issues, commercialization issues, etc.

Proposals initiated by the Principal Investigator and related supporting materials (as noted above) should be submitted to the Office of Research Services at least 7 days prior to delivery date.

Once the proposal has been developed to the satisfaction of the Principal Investigator, and the Office of Research Services, the Office of Research Services will arrange for appropriate signatures (if required at the proposal submission stage) and submit the proposal to the sponsor.

The Office of Research Services shall retain a copy of the proposal and the related materials.

If and when the proposal is accepted and approved by the Sponsor, the Office of Research Services will be responsible for reviewing any contracts or letters of offer (or other correspondence) to ensure that the University and the Principal Investigator (and any other faculty or staff member(s) involved) are willing and able to accept the terms and conditions, and for arranging for appropriate signatures as required by the contract or letter of offer.

Once the contract is signed or the letter of offer accepted, the Office of Research Services will ask Financial Services to open a research account in the name of the Principal Investigator to administer the funds of the project. The Office of Research Services shall also ensure that the Principal Investigator adheres to any relevant or necessary policies concerning research ethics and animal care.

A complete copy of the original terms of reference / call for proposals, the proposal itself, and the duly signed contract or letter of offer, shall be retained on file by Financial Services.

6 — RELATED POLICIES

Signing Authority
Research Overhead
Intellectual Property
Integrity in Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity
 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This policy document is adapted from the policies of Dalhousie University, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. Francis Xavier University, and University of Prince Edward Island.