Now that I'm thinking about it...
The quest cost should probably be scaled by two factors:
- Research Rate
- Progress in the game.
I realized after typing my reply that it really only applies to the types of games that I play, whereby I generally meet the first AI civ in the first 10-20 turns (sometimes sooner, but always by turn 20, I'd say). At this point in the game I usually have no money, no cash flow and can research Univ Trans in <10 turns. If I were playing a game where I was starting in a sector all by myself, it would be quite different.
So scaling on research rate means that selecting the "hire a private company to do it" or whatever that option is would result in it being completed somewhat along the same timeline as what it would take to research it yourself.
And scaling on "progress in the game" would be scaling it somehow to be commensurate with income, savings and turn number that this happens.
There are probably too many playstyles for it to make sense that this mission have static costs (or rewards, if rewards are to be added). Some sort of "first civ to research UT" reward seems like it would be thematically appropriate..
Again, I'd like to have some veteran players chime in for appropriate numbers for the above (but I do feel like completion roughly equal to time you'd take to research it yourself, seems like it makes sense).