Research Contracts

Become skilled at reviewing, setting up and managing research contracts

Training outcomes

Know how research contracts are structured to ensure that express terms are enforceable (compliant with fundamental requirements of contract law in England and Wales)
Understand the significance of boilerplate terms and how to negotiate changes appropriate to individual research contracts
Discuss how to critically assess instructions received from a researcher and review the proposed deal
Understand if a research contract is compliant with charity law
Know how to review research contracts for errors and omissions


The course also focuses on networking, providing a valuable platform to meet peers, discuss best practice, and interact with the course team and other contributors.

PLEASE NOTE: There may be a requirement for delegates to undertake some pre-course work/reading before the course begins.


Who should attend?

  • Relevant job titles: Business Development professionals, industry liaison, IP Contracts management, people who deal with collaborative research relationships/partnerships
  • Relevant sectors/organisations: Higher Education (HE), public sector research organisations, NHS Trusts, R&D support/governance offices, ARMA and ASTP Community, Research Council Funding Bodies, Industry
  • Experience needed: None required
  • Supporting courses: Essentials of Business Development


Event description

Research contracts – “which are fit for purpose” – are essential to cover all aspects of the relationship in a collaborative project for both those collaborating and also funders (which may or may not be a party to the collaborative partnership). Research contracts between organisations can deliver mutual benefit, enable new outcomes and create considerable benefit for society. There is a requirement for Universities, PSREs – NHS etc., research institutes to put research agreements in place for collaborations – so to be skilled at reviewing, setting up and managing research contracts are key skills to ensure the projects are delivered. Understanding how these agreements work enables such agreements to be put in place more efficiently. However, creating and managing these (sometimes complex) collaborative relationships between organisations can often prove challenging and frustrating.


Course Directors

Dr. David Brownlee

David Brownlee is the Innovation Advisor for Health and Social Care (HSC) in N. Ireland, where he heads up the HSC Innovations. Over the past 10 years in HSC, he has been responsible for amongst other things; the creation and delivery of the "Supporting Innovation in the HSC “framework project, the roll-out and adoption of the Innovation Policy for HSC, securing funding for and development of the infrastructure of HSC Innovations as a regional service; and managing and commercialising a pipeline of varied technologies in the healthcare arena. 


Richard Nugent

Richard is the Head of IP Strategy at Coller IP. Richard began his career in Northern Ireland, after roles as a financial advisor and retail manager, he moved into the legal sector while doing his law degree, and took on work within the Northern Ireland Courts Service. Following his law degree he negotiated the contracts for all the sub-contractors involved in the building of Belfast City Airport. In 2002, he moved to the south of England, working in the legal teams of Canon, Orange, and SAS Software. Richard moved into the research sector, and worked for Rothamsted Research from January 2007 to October 2015, both as a Contracts Manager and as an IP Manager. Richard also resolved contractual conflicts with a major U.K. health institution, the JRC in Brussels, and negotiated away a patent opposition. After Rothamsted he worked for his own IP & Contracts consulting and training firm, Totalinfo Ltd., returning to the research sector in November 2016 working as a Contracts Manager for Queen’s University Belfast on short-term contract, before joining Coller IP in July 2018.

Paul Maclennan

Paul Maclennan is a solicitor and a Partner at Anderson Law LLP, a niche firm of commercial/IP solicitors based in Oxfordshire. Paul advises on a wide variety of commercial agreements focussing on transactional work within the IT, life sciences and university sectors. His clients include leading UK universities and an international IT/telecoms company. Paul is listed in Chambers & Partners as a leading UK lawyer in the field of Intellectual Property and is a contributor to a number of Anderson Law’s publications on intellectual property and commercial law, most recently Technology Transfer (3rd Ed, Bloomsbury, 2010). 



Dr Daniel Blakey

Dan is Head of the Research Services office in Oxford which supports the activities of the Science, Social Science, and Humanities researchers. Dan joined the Oxford RS office after completing a PhD in 2005, starting as a contracts officer and then moving through managing a grants support team, developing an institutional approach to major research projects, and leading on large and complex negotiations before taking up his current position. In addition to the operational and leadership aspects of his role, Dan works across Oxford’s Research Services office on training needs and the in-house training programme, support for strategic projects, and overseas research funding and collaborations. He has been involved in the PraxisAuril Research Contracts course since 2013.