Research Agreements

The GRDC contracts most of its research projects using its Standard Research Agreements:

Researchers looking to secure GRDC investment for prospective research projects should assume that the standard terms within these agreements will apply. However, GRDC may, in special circumstances, determine to negotiate different terms for individual research projects, for example, where it’s determined that a project is better suited to GRDC’s services agreements or consultancy agreements. For projects that extend beyond research, GRDC also uses specific licensing and commercialisation agreements.

All researchers and research staff should be aware of the contractual terms applicable to their current or prospective GRDC research projects. The provision of GRDC investment for any project remains subject to the GRDC signing an appropriate Research Agreement with the relevant Research Organisation and that Organisation complying with all its responsibilities under the terms of that agreement.

GRDC reviews its standard Research Agreements for each new financial year as part of a program of continuous improvement. The relevant Standard Research Agreement for new invested projects may vary each year.

GRDC Standard Research Agreement (Two Party) 2016-17 version 1

Release Date: 5 December 2016

Summary of changes from 2015-16 Research Agreement

GRDC has made numerous changes to its Standard Research Agreement in 2016-17. The table below provides a summary of the key changes from the 2015-16 version to the 2016-17 version of the Standard Research Agreement. The key changes are around GRDC’s move to milestone reports and milestone payments. Other significant changes relate to the project details, IP register, material transfer agreements, project outputs, commercialisation, GRDC attribution requirements and gene technology.

Details of the changes in each area are set out below with a reference to the relevant clauses in the 2016-17 Standard Research Agreement. This information is for information only and does not affect interpretation of the Research Agreement.

Clause references

Explanation and details of the changes





Schedule 1 – Item 11

Milestones, Milestone Reports and Milestone Payments

Milestones are set for key delivery points of the Project. The Research Organisation must submit a Milestone report to GRDC showing how the Milestone has been met. GRDC may then accept or reject the Milestone report, acting reasonably. Payments are made on meeting specified Milestones and a condition for payment is that all previous Milestones have been met.

Progress Reports, Final Reports and Form B Statements are no longer referred to in the agreement with reporting obligations being specified in the Milestones set out in Schedule 1.

Schedule 1

Project Details

The Project Specification form is no longer used. All the details of the Project relevant to the agreement are contained in Schedule 1 – Project Details. This change was made:

  • To simplify and streamline the agreement;
  • To address the risk of inconsistencies arising between the Project Specification and the Information Table;
  • To avoid the Project Specification being relied on by personnel as a standalone document without reference to or an understanding of the terms of the agreement.




Schedule 2

IP Register

The Party providing the Background IP or Third Party IP listed in the IP Register provides warranties in relation to that IP subject to the restrictions disclosed in the IP Register.

There is a process around updating the IP Register to ensure that the other Party consents to the IP with the disclosed restrictions being used in the Project.



Material Transfer Agreements

A material transfer agreement approved by GRDC must be used:

  • to bring any Third Party IP material into the Project
  • to transfer Project Outputs to a third party




Schedule 1 - Items 12 and 13

Project Outputs - ownership and beneficial interest

New definition of Data and Project Outputs

The owner/s of Project Outputs are listed without any reference to a % ownership on the basis that all co-owners have equal rights.

A beneficial interest in the Net Commercialisation Income from those Project Outputs is expressed as a %. An entity with a beneficial interest is not necessarily an owner or co-owner of the Project Outputs.

8.4(e) and (f)

Schedule 3

Commercialisation Terms

Schedule 3 provides default terms for an agreement between the parties in accordance with clause 8.4(e). These default terms serve as a starting point for the parties when negotiating the full written agreement appointing the Commercialisation Party and governing the commercialisation of Project Outputs.



GRDC Attribution

New definition of GRDC Attribution Model.

The Research Organisation must comply with the GRDC Brand Style Guide when referring to GRDC’s contribution to the Project.  The GRDC Brand Style Guide is available from the GRDC Brand Centre at



Gene Technology

New definitions of Genetically Modified and Gene Technology

Additional requirements around industry best practice stewardship procedures for Projects involving the use of Gene Technologies.

Notification and management requirements in the case of inadvertent introduction of Genetically Modified material into the Project.

The standard 2016-17 GRDC Research Agreements


If you have any questions in relation to interpreting the changes to these agreements please contact GRDC General Counsel, on 02 6166 4516. General enquiries relating to ongoing or proposed projects, should be directed to the GRDC Contact Person specified in the Project Details or via the Grains Investment Portal at