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How to engage the Contracts team

The relevant Faculty Research Office or Faculty Finance Office should always be the first point of contact, to confirm financial arrangements, staffing requirements and to instigate engagement with the RIS Contracts Team. Please contact the relevant staff member as soon as you know a contract is needed so that this can be finalised before the work begins.

What we need from you

There is a base level of information required for the RIS Contracts Team to effectively review and/or draft a research-related contract, which you will be required to provide in the Contracts Team Engagement Request (CTER) Form, which is used for the majority of research contracts.

For EU-funded projects, where Leeds is acting as either the coordinator or a partner, the CTER Declaration Form for EU Consortium Agreements will be issued to the lead academic for completion by the RIS EU Team.

The CTER ensures we have all the relevant details required to determine any potential risks, ascertain the contract requirements, and comply with any existing terms and any legal obligations.

Without this information we could potentially draft an inappropriate or incomplete contract which is likely to significantly delay discussions and the start of the project or fail to protect the University or its academics.

No CTER is required for Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) where either the University’s Adhirons or Addgene’s materials are being transferred, or for amendments (project variables only) to existing contracts.


The overall time from initiation to signature of a research-related contract can vary from a few working days to multiple months depending on several factors, so you must consider these when planning your project.

It is also important to have realistic expectations from the beginning of the contracting process. Failure to engage the RIS Contracts Team in good time can result in a delay to the project starting, funding being received or recruitment, due to the lack of a signed contract.

Negotiation of a research-related contract can be affected by the following:

  • the complexity of the matter (eg is the project particularly sensitive or controversial)
  • the number and type of parties to the agreement (eg UK/international, university/industry)
  • the responsiveness of the other parties
  • the timely provision of relevant information to the RIS Contracts Team
  • general workload of the RIS Contracts Team (eg end of financial year)

The average turnaround time for completion of a contract is 68 days. This is the time taken from when the RIS Contracts Team receives all the information required to begin work, to receipt of the final fully signed contract, and includes the time the contract is with a third party.

This is for all types of contract. The more complex matters may take this length of time or longer and straightforward matters should take considerably less time.

The RIS Contracts Team is unable to guarantee that a contract will be signed or concluded by any given date but will endeavour to progress a matter as quickly as possible, taking into consideration any external or internal deadlines which may result in a loss of contract or funding, and subject to workload/capacity at that time.

The RIS Contracts Team aims to respond within the following timeframes:

  1. first substantive response (ie a review of terms, a draft agreement fit for purpose, or other contractual response) within 10 working days of receipt
  2. any subsequent contractual response to new comments or edits to a previously circulated agreement within 5 working days of receipt

Approvals and signatures

Once the terms of a contract are agreed in principle with the other party(ies) the RIS Contracts Team will provide a final summary of terms and request approval to proceed to signature.

Dependent on the type of contract, approval may be sought from the Faculty Research/Finance Manager (as appropriate), Head of School or Executive Dean of Faculty.

If a contract features certain significant risks, as detailed in the Contract Procedure, the RIS Contracts Team will escalate the contract to obtain appropriate central authorisation.

Staff and students are not authorised to sign research contracts on behalf of the University. All contracts must be approved and signed by an authorised signatory in line with the University’s Scheme of Delegation, which may differ depending on the nature and value of the contract.

All contracts which involve research funding (either incoming or outgoing funds held in a research grant account) must go through certain checks related to risk and involve completion and upload of the Risk Review Dashboard (RRD) into the relevant shared folder, and appropriate approvals within Kristal.

A contract cannot be presented for signature until all the relevant checks have been satisfactorily completed - failure to upload the completed RRD or obtain appropriate level of approvals in the Kristal grant management system will therefore lead to a delay in signature of the contract. These checks are conducted by the Research Operations Team who, if the project is not appropriately approved or risk-assessed, will liaise directly with the FRIO and business lead regarding any outstanding information. For further information, please see the Research Operations Team’s Approval Process section.

Devolved procedures

Certain types of contract have been devolved by the RIS Contracts Team to the relevant FRIO or project staff for review and signature. In case of query, please contact Karen Ogier ( or Katherine Mapp (