The contract sets out each organisations obligations and areas of responsibility such as:
- Who does what;
- What are the risks and who is responsible;
- What to do if it all goes wrong!
Contract = is a mutual understanding of the terms and therefore more likely that each party’s expectation will be met.
No contract = greater uncertainty, more risk of disputes and therefore greater risk to University.
WARNING: Verbal contracts are just as legally binding as a written contract
A contract is a legally binding document which formalises the relationship between the parties and the obligations they are committed to fulfil.
The Contracts Team deals with many different types of agreement including:
- Strategic and framework agreements
- Collaboration Agreements
- Clinical Trials in line with the MAHSC SOP
- Studentship / CASE Studentship / EngD / CDT
- IAA/KTP/P2D schemes
- Consultancy Agreements
- Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA/NDA)
- Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)
- Consultancy Agreement
- Sale and Supply of Service Agreements
- IT and Software Agreements
Other contract types are dealt with elsewhere as follows:
Intellectual Property Arrangements and Exploitation – University of Manchester Innovation Factory
Purchase / Procurement Contracts - Procurement Office
Grants (except for new funders or non-standard terms) - School / Faculty
EU/ Horizon Europe / Horizon 2020 Contracts - EU Funding & Development Managers
Estates Contracts - Legal Affairs
HR Contracts – HR with support from Legal Affairs
The areas most commonly negotiated in a contract are:
- Project details and deliverables
- Financial arrangements including tax
- Intellectual Property Rights
- Liabilities and indemnities
- Governing law
At the earliest opportunity particularly where the arrangements may involve third parties or be particularly complex. See the website for more details on what area are particularly complex.
The amount of time it takes to put a contract in place will vary depending on a number of factors including:
- The type and nature of the work, for example a clinical trial agreement will take longer than a confidentiality agreement;
- The number of partners involved, particularly where the contract will involve international partners and/or industry;
- The number of complex financial transactions in different currencies;
- Whether the agreement requires complex intellectual property arrangements and licence provisions;
- Whether the agreement will involve the transfer of data, particularly data is going to international partners;
- Whether export control clearance or a licence is required;
- Response times from the other parties
For a simple contract such as a confidentiality agreement on University terms, no cost extension, certain amendments and some standard Government department contracts the turnaround time will typically be up to 10 working days. We aim to conclude the more complex matters within 90 working days, however, this will be subject to many factors as outlined above, which could lead to more protracted negotiations.
The approval levels will vary depending on the nature and value of the project, always discuss with your RSM/RSO regarding what is required.
A contract will be needed to formalise the arrangements with third party organisations, the nature of the agreement will depend on each party’s role in the project.
The organisation leading the project will need to send a contract to the University for review, reflecting the terms of the original funder.
Approach the organisation and request a contract to formalise the arrangements, this can then be sent to the Contracts Team for review.
No, the contract will be with the University and there are only a small number of individuals identified as an authorised signatory. The Contracts Team will arrange for the agreement to be signed once the terms have been agreed and any necessary approvals are in place.