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Contracts Office & Team

Responsibilities of Contracts Team

Research Management’s Contracts team is responsible for reviewing and negotiating incoming agreements from foundations and non-profit institutions and contracts from federal and state agencies as well as all modifications related to these awards. The Contracts team also issues outgoing subcontracts and modifications under awards from foundations, non-profit institutions and federal and state agencies.

The Contracts Team consists of Specialists, Administrators and Coordinators:

  • Contracts Specialists are the primary point of contact for Principal Investigators (PIs) and Department Administrators (DAs) at BWH and MGH who have incoming and outgoing agreements. They are primarily responsible for negotiating terms and conditions within an agreement to ensure that the rights of the hospital and PI are protected.
  • Contracts Administrators provide support to the Contracts Specialists, which may include issuing outgoing subcontracts and modifications and reviewing standard incoming agreements.
  • Contracts Coordinators support the Contracts team by monitoring the team’s email boxes and processing all incoming agreements, modifications and outgoing subcontracts.

Contracts employees work closely with their colleagues on Research Management’s Pre-Award, Post-Award and Research Finance teams to support research projects funded by non-profit institutions, foundations and federal and state agencies. The primary responsibilities of these teams are summarized below:

  • Grants Office/
    Pre-Award Team
  • Grants Office/
    Post-Award Team
  • Contracts
    Office/Team
  • Research Finance
    Office/Teams

Contracts Office/Contracts Team Responsibilities

  • Reviews and negotiates the terms and conditions of all research agreements, (consistent with institutional positions and protecting the rights of the investigators and the institution) received from:
    - Non-profit institutions
    - Foundations
    - Federal and state agencies
  • Consults with and collaborates with other Partners offices such as RM’s Partners Clinical Research Office (PCRO), Research Ventures and Licensing (RVL), Materials Management and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) on terms and conditions, as needed
  • Collaborates with PIs, DAs and the Pre-award and Post-Award teams during negotiations
  • Drafts and negotiates all outgoing subcontracts and research services agreements issued under research awards received from non-profit institutions, foundations and federal and state agencies
  • Serves as the Authorized Official and signs incoming contracts/agreements and outgoing subcontracts
  • Attaches all fully executed agreements into InfoEd and maintains deliverable comments tracking the progress of each agreement in InfoEd
  • Prepares subsequent amendments and modifications of incoming agreements and outgoing subcontracts
  • Obtains A-133 audit reports from each entity engaged as a subcontractor under a Partners Prime award
  • Reviews each A-133 audit report for findings that would impose risk on Partners to engage as a subcontractor, works with PI to develop terms and conditions to mitigate risk of liability/exposure

* Agreements for basic research funded by industry or for-profit sponsors are negotiated by Partners Research Ventures and Licensing (RVL). Agreements for clinical research/trials funded by industry or for-profit sponsors are negotiated by Partners Clinical Research Office (PCRO).

Contact Information

Members of the Contracts team are assigned to support Principal Investigators (PIs) and Departments Administrators (DAs) within specific departments/chief codes at BWH and MGH.

Contracts Team Has Signing Authority

Due to the potential risks to the hospital and the complexity of many agreements, it is critically important that sponsored research agreements are negotiated by the Contracts team. PIs are cautioned not to sign incoming agreements for sponsored research and outgoing subcontracts to other institutions. These agreements bind the hospital to certain obligations and may contain terms that put the hospital and the PI at risk. In addition, PIs are not authorized by Partners or the entities to sign agreements.

To help PIs and DAs become familiar with the terms that need to be reviewed and negotiated, the Contracts team has created a Customary Contract Terms Guidance Document. PIs and DAs are encouraged to use this document as a reference when reviewing application guidelines. Being aware of Partners’ institutional stance on certain terms and conditions could help users make more informed decisions before applying for an award.

If PIs or DAs receive new incoming agreements or modifications, they should forward these documents to the appropriate email box:

Contracts Coordinators check these email boxes several times a day, process agreements and requests as soon as possible, and forward them to the appropriate Contracts team member for action.

PIs or DAs who are contacted by a sponsor regarding an award under negotiation should immediately refer the sponsor to their department’s Contracts Specialist.

Transparency and Collaboration

The Contracts team is committed to transparency. Every action taken by the Contracts team related to an incoming agreement or outgoing subcontract will be noted in the Deliverables comments in the InfoEd record for that specific project. These notes, as well as the status of incoming agreements and outgoing subcontracts, can be found in the InfoEd record or the Insight Deliverables Report. Instructions on how to generate an Insight Deliverables Report and track the status of contracts/subcontracts can be found in a short online tutorial. To request access to InfoEd or Insight, send an email to the Insight Help Desk.

The Contracts team will collaborate with PIs and DAs to ensure that the agreement terms accurately reflect the research project and are acceptable to the PIs. Close collaboration and timely communication between the PIs, DAs and Contracts team can help expedite the negotiation process.

Industry Sponsors and Vendors

Agreements with direct funding from an industry/corporate sponsor as well as agreements for supplies or vendor services are handled by other Partners offices, such as:

  • Research Ventures & Licensing (RVL), which provides commercialization services and negotiates industry-sponsored agreements for basic research
  • Partners Clinical Research Office (PCRO), which is responsible for developing, negotiating and executing agreements and budgets for industry-sponsored clinical research as well as handling Medicare coverage analysis (MCA) for all clinical trials.
  • PHS Materials Management, which contracts with vendors and suppliers to procure items and/or services, including consultants, data management or lab tests, for sponsored research projects.

More information about these offices' responsibilities can be found in the Contracting Guidelines and Subrecipient Monitoring Roles and Responsibilities Grid.

Please Note: If an agreement appears to fall within the scope of responsibilities of multiple Partners offices, one office will take the lead and may be assisted by the other offices. PIs and DAs who have questions about which office will be taking the lead on a particular agreement should contact their department’s assigned Contracts Specialist.