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Why do research contracts take so long?


Some hold-ups can be averted, but some just can’t

Among the various photos rotating as my desktop wallpaper on my work PC is a screenshot from the television show The Good Place. The caption says: “Okay, shouldn’t take long. Between an hour and, um, 11 months”. As a contracts manager, the statement resonates. People always ask me how long it will take to finalise a contract and my answer is usually just as vague and unhelpful.

Why won’t I give a definitive answer? What is the difference between a contract that takes an hour and one that takes 11 months, or even longer? In this article I look at what goes into getting a contract negotiated and finalised, what influences how long this takes, what you can do to speed things up, and what factors can be outside both your and my control.

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