Preparing a tender or research contract

Tips for researchers on preparing a tender or research contract.


Tenders (or Request for Quotes (RFQ), Request for Tender (RFT), Approach to Market (ATM)) are processes government departments and other organisations run to procure specific services they need. Tenders processes are used to find out who can provide a service, get the best value for money proposal, run a transparent procurement process.

Preparing a tender bid involves a lot of intensive work on short timelines. You need to be clear if you are likely to be competitive and able to do the work before proceeding with the bid.

Our Research Funding Team can support you during the bid process.

The following points sketch key points for preparing a tender.

The very first step should be to let Research Services know about the tender – please email [email protected] . They will help prepare the tender documents, budget, legal review of any draft agreement and secure the necessary signatures demonstrating the University’s support for the bid.

Before the tender is announced

Sometimes potential service providers are contacted by the tendering organisation letting them know a tender will be announced shortly. This is a good time to:

  • ask the estimated budget which has been secured.
  • ask why the service is being sought - what is driving the need for the service?
  • ask what is driving any timelines - why do they need it when they say they do?
  • assemble a team to prepare the tender and work on the project should the bid be successful.

When the request for tender is announced

  • Assemble a team to prepare the tender and work on the project should the bid be successful. It should be large enough to be able to do the work, but small enough to be manageable, cost competitive and reassure the funding organisation lines of responsibility and accountability are clear.
  • Decide if you should proceed with the bid (‘go/no-go’)
  • Who will the competition likely be? Do you have a compelling advantage? (Price, expertise, experience, quality?)
  • Are the timelines possible?
  • Are the necessary people available to do the work?
  • Will you get what you need out of this work?
  • Agree who will complete what sections of the tender and on what timelines.
  • Be very clear on what your value proposition is: what is it that makes your bid the best value bid (expertise, experience, reliability, price)?

Prepare the tender

  1. Use the Tender Preparation Checklist to help you plan your steps towards submission.
  2. Complete the:
    • coversheet
    • costing tool
    • draft response form.
  3. Email [email protected] for compliance check and authorisation. At least 48 hours is needed for Research Services to conduct compliance check and authorisation process.

For any section about corporate information (eg. ABN, number of academics), please advise Research Services to provide that information. If no response template is provided, you can also contact Research Services to prepare a template for your bid.

After the tender is submitted

  • Agree who will attend any interview to discuss the bid, should it be requested. Agree who will lead the interview and what topics each person attending will be responsible for answering.
  • Contact the funding organisation to discuss your bid if it is unsuccessful.

Research contracts

Contract research refers to research which is conducted especially for a company or other organisation. Such research is funded under the terms of a contract which is agreed between the University and the funder.

The following steps must be followed to prepare and finalise a contract.

  1. Complete Parts 1 and 2 of the Research contracts & grants cover sheet, which is used to confirm your College’s support for the work, brief Legal Services and for MORA and HERDC. Sign the coversheet.
  2. Have your Dean, Director of Institute or Centre, or College Director of Research sign the completed coversheet.
  3. Email the signed coversheet and, if available, the proposal you agreed with the funding partner, to Research Services. They will prepare a draft agreement.
  4. Send the draft agreement to your funding partner for their review
  5. Send the funding partner’s comments to Research Services.
  • If the funding partner approves the agreement as ready for signature, go to Step 7.
  • If the funding partner seeks revisions, go to Step 6.
  1. Research Services with Legal will review the changes sought and either:
  • Approve the changes (go to Step 7)
  • Seek further changes (go to Step 4)
  1. Execute the agreement (i.e. get the agreement signed). Research Services will coordinate the final signature by the Director, Research Services (<$75,000) or Vice President (Research) (>$75,000)