Looking for a form?
Before you email or call, please check the complete list of forms, or try the search function at the top of the page.

Service Contracts and Agreements

About These Documents

Often government bodies, commercial or non-commercial organizations and independent researchers will seek to access the resources and expertise available at U of T in order to complete or augment a project. A service contract is an agreement between an external organization and the University under which the University agrees to provide well-defined work on a pay-for-service model. Service contracts and agreements present an opportunity for U of T to engage academic and business communities worldwide.

A primary goal of “service” activities is to apply existing knowledge towards a particular problem or to generate data of limited application. This may include the use of established testing protocols, analytical services, or existing research tools (without material modification), or the application of expertise aimed at achieving a specific outcome. In all instances, the scope and nature of the proposed work is largely defined by the client/sponsor. Typically, there will be no expectation that the project activities will generate patentable inventions or that the project outcomes would be publishable in peer-reviewed journals. Funds received through a service contract are administered by the academic division which undertakes the project. All service contracts must abide by the policies and procedures of U of T.

Service contracts differ from consulting activities and sponsored research agreements in many ways.

  • Sponsored research activities are distinct from service contracts or agreements. In the case of sponsored research, the scope of work and allocation of funds are primarily defined by the PI, and are intended to advance knowledge in the field and lead to scientific or scholarly findings. Funds received for sponsored research activities are administered through a restricted research account. In general, projects requiring review by the Research Ethics Board (REB) will be also be administered through a restricted research account.
  • Consulting activities are undertaken by a PI independently from the University and do not include significant use of University facilities or resources.

Please refer to the Guideline on Research Administration that accompanies the Research Administration Policy for further information.

Members of the U of T community interested in undertaking projects under a service contract or agreement should first contact their department Chair, CAO or research officer (or equivalents) at the outset of a potential service project to obtain approval for all proposed project activities. The administering Division retains the authority to approve and sign service contract documents that are within the Division’s normal course of business. If the proposed activities are considered beyond the administering Division’s normal course of business, additional approval would be required. Please see the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents for further information on the approval authority.

In partnership, the Provost’s Office and the Innovations and Partnerships Office (IPO) are providing support to assist in the review of service contract documents to help ensure compliance with U of T policies, and to serve as an information resource to the various administrative officers and signatories at the University.


A Service Contracts Officer position within IPO has recently been created with the support of the Provost’s Office. This individual can assist in the review of service contract documents and agreements and also acts as an information resource to the U of T community. Documents for review can be submitted using the process outlined below, in addition to providing copies of any other relevant document. As per the established business practices of the administering Division, please consult with the department Chair, CAO, Vice-Dean Research, Vice-Principal Research or research officer (or equivalents) as appropriate, prior to submitting any project related documents to IPO for review.

Please feel free to contact the Service Contracts Officer directly for information or assistance relating to service contracts and agreements.

Loredana Polidoro
Research Partnerships Officer, Innovations & Partnerships Office
Email: l.polidoro@utoronto.ca
Tel: 416-978-6927


Service Contracts Questionnaire

Back to Top ↑

© 2019 Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. All rights reserved. | Site map | Accessibility | Log in