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Module 6: Grant and Contract Administration


Winning a research grant or contract gives you a real buzz! Your hard work, careful planning, and persuasive writing have convinced the funding body that your research proposal is significant, innovative, and achievable – and most important of all, fundable. Your Head of School is delighted, your colleagues will help you celebrate your success, and your partner may even forgive you for all the hours he or she was ignored while you wrote your proposal. Now the real challenge begins: how to achieve your stated outcomes and manage the administration of your grant or contract.

Whether you have been awarded a small seeding grant by your employing institution, or have been awarded a large collaborative grant or contract that involves several stakeholders, as the first-named Chief (CI) or Principal Investigator (PI) on the grant or contract there will be fundamental administrative requirements you’ll need to address. This can be frustrating when all you want to do is concentrate on your research, but you are accountable for the money you’ve been awarded, so a clear understanding of your responsibilities is necessary.

This module has been designed to inform you about important aspects of administering a research grant or contract, things for which you, as first-named CI/PI, are responsible. Your institution has a Research Office, through which you submitted your application for funding. The Research Office is responsible, at the institutional level, for ensuring the university complies with its contractual obligations to the funding body, but it is the first-named CI/PI who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project, whether it’s a research grant or research contract.

Some topics in this module are covered more comprehensively in other modules and are included here to remind you of the importance of taking action on those issues. There will either be a link to the other module or identical material has been included. If you have covered the material in other modules there is no need to repeat it here. Please note that some material in this module covers similar ground to topics in Module 2 (Commencement and Collaboration).

This module comprises online learning material and a workshop.

You are expected to devote time to reading the online material and carrying out compulsory activities before attending the workshop. This module should take less than 2.5 hours to read and you may need to devote up to another 1.5 hours to carry out the compulsory activities.

The workshop is based on the assumption that you have completed the reading and carried out the compulsory activities.


The aims of this module are to:

  • Inform you about your obligations and responsibilities as the first-named CI/PI of a research grant or research contract;
  • Provide practical advice on how to manage research grants and contracts;
  • Give you an overview of the legalities and structure of research contracts;
  • Help you to think strategically about how to schedule tasks and outcomes for your new project while accommodating all the other activities in which you are involved.

Learning outcomes

After completing this module (and the topics from other modules from the program that are referred to) you should be able to:

  • Review a funding agreement or draft research contract and identify key issues that relate to the administration of your project;
  • Make strategic decisions about how to optimise your research outcomes within the constraints of time and funding limits;
  • Identify personnel issues that have the potential to impact on the progress of your project;
  • Design a plan for the management of your project that includes the preparation of a schedule of timelines, tasks, and outcomes for everyone involved in the project.
  • Identify sections in your institution that can assist in the administration of your research.

Content overview

The module comprises the following topics:

1. Administration of research grants

1.1 The nature of research grants

1.2 Managing the research grant

2. Administration of research contracts

2.1 The nature of research contracts

2.2 Managing the research contract

3. Project time management


The content in this module was developed by The University of Queensland.

Principal writer
Deborah Ford, Emford Consulting

with contributions by
Kerrin Anderson
Francis Abourizk Lightowlers
Tania Kearsley
Jane Easson, University of Queensland
Associate Professor Paul Meredith, University of Queensland
Professor Janet Wiles, University of Queensland.
Thanks to the senior academic and professional staff at The University of Queensland whose advice during the writing of the module, and feedback following testing of the pilot, has been of enormous value and assistance.

Educational developers
Bill Potter, Monash University
Associate Professor Len Webster, Monash University

Web developer
Rob Andrew, Monash University
Jane Liang, Go8

Project management
Group of Eight Future Research Leaders Program

Accessing the module material

Now that you have read the module introduction you can access and navigate your way through the module content via the Module 6 Organiser link in the navigation bar at the top left of this page or in the bar below.

If you wish to print this page you can generate a pdf file via this printer icon [ ]. A pdf file for each topic in this module can be generated using the printer icon to the left of each topic title on the Organiser page.

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