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Queen's University


What is a contract?

Agreements which contain the following elements are considered contracts:

- Stated work plan/ deliverables

- Clauses outlining obligations of the university / researcher, including such matters as:

  • publication
  • intellectual property / commercialization
  • confidentiality
  • indemnification
  • insurance

 - Funding is linked to the provision of deliverables, and may be linked specifically to certain tasks (milestones). Financial reporting is required on the use of funds, often with unspent funds needing to be returned to the sponsor.

What is the difference between a contract and a grant or gift?


Unlike a contract with obligations as outlined above, research supported by a grant is controlled and directed by the Researcher to pursue the research interests of the researcher. In general, they do not:

  • specify a statement of work,
  • have a detailed schedule for work,
  • specify deliverables,
  • require invoicing for expenditures,
  • require intellectual property rights or,
  • restrict publication in any way

Intellectual property rights reside with the creator(s) as per Queen's policy. Grant funds are normally received in advance of performing the research. The researcher may be required to provide a report to the granting agency on the work performed.


Gifts for research  are a voluntary transfer of cash and in-kind to the University for use by a researcher for the support of research and scholarship. The funds are provided without expectation of return or consideration from the University.

What is the rate of indirect costs (overhead) associated with research contracts?

Please refer to the table located here

Unless otherwise stated in the policy, the rate for research conducted on campus is 40% of total direct costs, and for research that is conducted more than 50% off-site, the rate is reduced to 20% of total direct costs.

Who can sign a research contract?

Contracts are signed by the Director of the Research Contracts Unit. This is currently Janice Mady. Often researchers are asked to sign an acknowledgment as well, but they are not authorized to be the only signatory binding the University. Contracts signed only by researcher are not considered valid by the University.

What is the process for having a Contract signed?

In general, the process is as follows:

  1. Contract is provided by the researcher or the sponsor to the Director of the Research Contracts Unit. This is currently Janice Mady. If the sponsor does not have a template, we will suggest using our Standard Research Agreement.
  2. The contract is assigned to member of the contracts Unit fro review/ drafting. 
  3. Once reviewed/ drafted, a copy and any related comments are provided to the researcher for their consideration. The researcher is requested to complete an entry in TRAQ (Tools for Research At Queen's).
  4. Proof of necessary certifications is requested (e.g. Human Ethics, Animal care, Biohazard Approval, Radiation Safety Approval).
  5. A copy of the contract and related comments are then provided to the sponsor, and the negotiation is undertaken.
  6. Once agreement with the sponsor is reached on the terms, the Contacts Unit member will manage the signature process by Queen's and the sponsor.
  7. Upon execution, a copy of the contract and TRAQ entry are forwarded to Financial Services so an account may be set up. At this point all questions related to the release of funds should be directed to the person in Financial Services who manages the account.
  8. A copy of the contract is provided to the researcher and the relevant Department Head.

Amendments to contract follow much the same process as outlined above.




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