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Types of Contracts

RACD is responsible for Research and Services accounts and any supporting contracts. Please note, the University's Finance Division (FINCE) is responsible for short courses and the University Human Resources Division (HUMRS) manages contracts of employment. The University’s Purchasing Section (PURCH) is responsible for the purchase of goods and services.


A list of contracts within RACD's remit is shown below:

- General Research

- Clinical Research

- Clinical Trial

- Studentship

- Service / Consultancy

- European

- Tenders - those which if awarded will form a Research and Services account held with RACD.

- Subcontracts / Collaboration / Consortium

- Confidentiality / Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA)

- Material Transfer Agreements (MTA)

- Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing


If you need to establish a contract, please visit The Process for Dealing with RACD Contracts.


General Research  

A research contract is used when research is commissioned by a company or by a public body, such as a research council or a charity. General research will cover all research other than research involving NHS staff or patients.

An RACD account will be created which will normally be a research account (Ref: RC)


Clinical Research  

A clinical research contract is similar to the general research contract, but the research involves NHS staff or patients (and is not a clinical trial).

An RACD account will be created which will normally be a research account.


Clinical Trial 

These contracts cover trials which usually involve Investigational Medicinal Products and/or a new medical device .There are two types of clinical trials: non-commercial (the funder of the project is a charity or government body), or commercial (the funder of the project is a company).

An RACD account will be created, which will normally be a research account. For more information on research governance issues for clinical trials, please visit the Research Governance webpages.


Studentships (Including CASE/ Doctoral training)  

This is used for a postgraduate who is receiving funding from an outside company completely, or as an ‘industrial top-up’, where a research council is providing funding via a CASE or doctoral training account scheme.  The contract covers matters such as payment, the ownership of results and thesis publication. A student may be asked to sign a studentship contract with the industrial partner and the University. In addition, the student may be requested to enter into a binding agreement with the University, under which the student agrees to assign to the University any results that he/she generates, so that the University can either comply with the contract with an industrial partner or commercialise any results arising from the research programme.

The University's Finance Division (FINCE) deals directly with any payments from research councils. The University's Registry Services Division (REGIS) deals with student nomination and quota studentships.

An RACD account will be created, which will normally be a research account.


Services / Consultancy  

A consultancy contract is used when an individual or organisation provides advice or other related services, to the recipient, in return for a sum of money. An individual may receive personal payment from a fully costed consultancy project.  For further information please visit the Consultancy and Services webpage.

An RACD account will be created, which will normally be a service account. 


European Union  

There are two types of contracts:

  • European Commission (EC) Grant

An EC grant contract is used to formalise the relationship between the EC and the organisation/ partner involved in a funded research project. For further information on the European framework programmes or other EC funding please visit the European Research Funding webpage.

An RACD account will be created, which will normally be a research account.

  • EC Consortium

Please see the definition of Subcontract/ Collaboration/Consortium below.  The EC requires all framework programmes to have a signed consortium agreement.

A consortium agreement will be linked to an existing research account.



A tender is made to an organisation wishing to commission research or consultancy work. All tender documentation must be passed to RACD (before you respond to the invitation to tender), in order that the terms and conditions may be reviewed and/or negotiated if necessary. Tender documentation will normally be entitled “Invitation to Tender” and will contain terms and conditions that the University will accept by responding to the invitation to tender.

An RACD account will be created, which will normally be a research account.


Subcontract/ Collaboration/ Consortium 

A subcontract and a collaboration contract are similar.  RACD uses the term subcontract when the University is paying money to a third party.  RACD uses the term collaboration or consortium when a research project involves a number of partners, in collaboration.

RACD only deals with subcontracts where money is being paid to an individual or company from an existing research or services account.

Purchasing can offer further advice on whether a proposed sub-contractor or equipment supplier will need to be selected via a formal tender.  See their Tenders and Quotations page for more details.


Confidentially/ Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)  

An NDA is a contract governing the disclosure of confidential information from one party to another. Such disclosure may be mutual (i.e. both/ all parties disclosing confidential information), or it may be a one-way disclosure from one party to the other. The University has a standard two-way NDA which may be used each time an employee/ student of the University wishes to disclose or receive confidential information. Please visit our Model Agreement webpage to download the template NDA. If you have received an NDA from a third party, this must be forwarded to RACD to ensure that the terms are acceptable to the University. If they are unacceptable, the Contracts Team will negotiate with the third party to ensure that your rights and interests and those of the University are protected.

An NDA will not result in an account being set up by RACD.


Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)  

An MTA is a contract governing the transfer of materials between Cardiff University staff and researchers from another organisation or a private individual. The supplier/ provider of the materials is usually the institution owning the materials but may sometimes be an authorised licensee (e.g. an international depository for laboratory based materials). An MTA is required when materials for use in research projects are to be transferred in (incoming MTA) or out (outgoing MTA) of the University on a non-commercial basis, i.e. the material is not being bought or sold. Materials range from biological and chemical materials, to equipment and software. The MTA contract will cover the definition of the material, the permitted use of the material, confidentiality on the results, key information relating to the material, access and ownership to the research results and any Intellectual Property that is generated.

An NDA will not result in an account being set up by RACD.


Intellectual Property (IP)/ Licensing  

An IP license is a contract under which an owner of the IP (licensor) permits another person (the licensee) to engage in activities that, in the absence of the licence, would infringe the licensor's legal rights attached to the IP.

A licensing agreement may result in money being paid to an individual member of staff. For further information, please visit the Technology Transfer webpage.


(Some of these extracts have been taken from the Unico Practical Guidelines. For more information please