Research contract: workflow & support

One way of accessing external expertise, financing and resources is to collaborate with companies or other external partners. With such collaborations, it is important to define the roles and responsibilities of all parties with a research contract.

Who is responsible for the contract process?

  • Each research contract requires a person to be responsible for coordinating the process
  • This person can be the PI or in some cases a specifically appointed person/function at the department - always contact your department administration to identify the responsible person
  • The person/function should for example organise communication between all parties and can throughout the process get support from the units described in the table below
  • The Head of Department and in some cases the Head of Administration should review the contract and decide if the contract also needs to be reviewed by the Legal unit

Legal unit at KI:

  • Can provide advice on the terms and conditions of collaborations, and assistance with the review and interpretation of contracts
  • Has contract templates, forms and additional documents that might be needed for project planning and contract drafting
  • Provides recommendations when advising on and reviewing contracts
  • Does not represent KI in contract negotiations other than in exceptional cases and when agreed by the legal unit

Who provides support?

The person responsible for coordinating the contract process (the PI or in some cases a specifically appointed person/function at the department) can throughout the process get support from the units described below:

Support during Step 1. Preparation
I want to get help with: Who provides support? Link to support / contact list:
Identifying the responsible person, getting preliminary approval and guidance Your department administration
Purchasing of goods or services Purchase and public procurement unit (inköp och upphandlingsenhet)
Identifying type of collaboration and appropriate agreement - what should be included and why EEO - External Engagement Office
Understanding the difference between commissioned and collaborative research EEO - External Engagement Office
Industry/company collaborations EEO - External Engagement Office
Assessing risks in choice of collaborative partner EEO - External Engagement Office
Assessing risks in choice of financing organisation GO - Grants Office
Applying for international grants GO - Grants Office
EU grant agreement negotiations GO - Grants Office
US grant agreement negotiations and potential Conflict of Interest CDO - Compliance & Data Office
Assessing other potential Conflict of Interest HR unit
Compliance issues: ethics, insurance, clinical studies and consents CDO - Compliance & Data Office
Export control issues, environmental and sustainability guidelines Environmental coordinators at KI…
Research data management RDO - Research Data Office
Personal data management (GDPR) CDO - Compliance & Data Office
KI Biobank issues - legal requirements for collecting samples KI Biobank for researchers
Other research agreement negotiations and reviewing - only for central agreements that don't have a PI Legal unit (juridiska avdelningen)
Getting contract templates and forms recommended at KI Legal unit (juridiska avdelningen)
Registering (Dnr) and archiving the agreement and researcher consents Archive and registry at KI

Contract workflow in 4 steps:

Photo: GettyImages.

Step 1. Preparation

  • Identify what should be included in your contract and why
  • Identify appropriate type of collaboration and agreement
  • Discuss risks in choice of collaborative partner or financing organisation:
    • Is the collaborator appropriate?
    • Companies in which researchers have interests might have weak economies and thus unstable legal system
  • Identify potential conflicts of interest:
  • Identify compliance issues
  • Identify Principal Investigator and researchers involved (affiliated, consultants, students, PhD students)
Photo: GettyImages.

Step 2. Compliance

Sort out financial questions for your project:

  • review the grant funding terms
  • follow the procurement process for the purchase of goods or services

Identify regulatory issues that apply to your project:

Photo: GettyImages.

Step 3. Agreement

  • You need an appropriate template for your agreement, we recommend to use KI templates
  • Prepare a draft with a project and budget plan
  • Negotiate modifications with all partners
  • Legal unit will review the agreement and provide recommendations                              
  • Final and legally correct version of the agreement is available for signature
Photo: GettyImages.

Step 4. Signature

Before the research project starts, the agreement must be signed by all parties. 

Most agreements will also require the signatures of the Head of the department and the PI because research-related contracts can only be signed by an authorised signatory within the appropriate department, not by the academic themselves. 

Signature process at KI:

  • All contracts must be signed by the authorised signatories (by the Head of Department and in some cases the Head of Administration) according to the Delegation rules for KI
  • All researchers involved must sign a researcher consent
  • Register (Dnr) and archive both the signed agreement and the researcher consents