The Contracts Office is responsible for the review and execution of all pure research funded contracts, from the perspective of financial exposures and liability ensuring College’s due diligence and compliance in contractual matters.
The Contracts Office main focus and priority is to review pure research contracts within current College policy and procedure and based on standard practice as per FC minutes FN/05-06/88 (21/06/06) and FN/06 – 07/42 (07/02/2007).
Once a contractual document is received from a sponsor and/or Principal Investigator; pure research contracts are reviewed and negotiated as quickly as possible for prompt acceptance and signature ensuring sponsor deadlines are met and for quick progression of documentation to the Treasurer’s Office for research account set-up and post award management.
Priority for review is given in order of receipt (by the Contracts Office) however due to the tight deadline set by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) of a five day turnaround all SFI contracts are given priority over other contracts. The Contracts Office will always endeavour to meet deadlines regarding contractual review and signature once provided with sufficient time to ensure all necessary policies and procedures are adhered to.
It is important to note that any statement, verbal or written, made by TCD and / or TCD employees as agents of TCD to an individual and/or sponsor amounting essentially to a promise by him/her to do (or not to do) or to provide something may give rise to a legal right of action by the individual in circumstances where TCD does not do what it has promised. From a risk management perspective, understanding the potential legal implications of not keeping promises will assist TCD in avoiding and minimising disputes and potential claims. A Principal Investigator should not commit/bind TCD to any contractual terms in isolation of the Contracts Office.
The day-to-day activities of the Contracts Office are:
- Advising and reporting to the Associate Director of Trinity Research & Innovation on all issues relating to research-related contracts;
- Drafting and negotiation of research-related contracts;
- Review and approval of specific research sponsor terms & conditions;
- Liaising with the Academic College community in respect of contractual and contract related financial/budgetary issues;
- Liaising with other Administration sections within College on contractual and contract related financial issues;
- Preparation of the monthly contracts status report to be circulated to relevant College personnel;
- The preparation of ad hoc reports as required by College community;
- Preparation and delivery of presentations at various workshops/courses associated with research-related contracts awarded to college;
- Ensuring research-related contracts are signed on a timely basis with no administrative delays.
It should be noted that the Contracts Office is solely responsible for pre-award contract review and signature and is not TCD’s legal office for general issues. The Contracts Office is not involved in the management of contracts post award; this role is administered by the Treasurer’s Office.