Research contracts

Research Services is responsible for negotiating and authorising research-related contracts with external parties. These contracts are not confined to sponsored research agreements, but also cover such things as the exchange of confidential information, datasets, research tools or materials and terms and conditions for research projects.

  • A research contract is a legally binding agreement that sets out the rights and obligations of the parties concerned, and which forms the basis of a relationship around a particular research programme, exchange of information or materials or other collaboration.
  • Contracts are entered into with a wide range of external bodies including other universities, companies, government departments and agencies, charities and individuals.
  • All contracts are made with the legal entity, the University of Sheffield, and only the Director of Finance may authorise staff to sign legally binding documents on its behalf. Specific members of Research Services staff are authorised signatories.
  • Research applications, grants or contracts may not be valid if they were not signed by an authorised signatory.

Types of research contract include:

Research and collaboration agreements Terms and conditions governing the conduct of a project, and sets out the responsibilities, roles and rights of collaborating parties. More information
Confidentiality, non-disclosure and secrecy agreements Protects sensitive and/or confidential information during discussions with partners More information
Materials transfer agreements (MTA) Required when material (including biological materials, compounds, equipment, prototypes, data) for use in research projects are to be transferred into or out of the University on a noncommercial basis. More information
Consultancy Ensures that both you and the University are appropriately protected when undertaking a consultancy project. More information

Request a contract

Please involve us at as early a stage as possible. The most efficient and effective way of requesting a contract is by using our online Contracts Tool. If you are unsure of what is required then please contact the contracts help desk at or 0114 222 7444.

Request a contract

Track the progress of my agreement

You can track the progress of contracts in negotiation by using the 'View my existing requests' feature in the Contracts Tool.

Track your contract

Who to contact

Please contact the Contracts Help Desk on 0114 222 7444 or with new enquiries.

Contact us