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Contact details:
Justin Furness
Consultancy Services Manager
Ext 4706

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Professor Kevin Edge, Pro-Vice-Chancellor-Research, and Dr Justin Furness, Consultancy Services Manager, RIS, review progress on a consultancy project with Michael Schlotter, Centre for Power Transmission and Motion Control, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Prof Kevin Edge & Justin Furness review progress on a consultancy project with Michael Schlotter, CPTMC

Internal News - 16 July 2007

New incentives scheme for consultancy starts 1 August 2007

Following extensive consultation the University has approved a new incentives scheme for academics to carry out consultancies through the University, starting from 1 August 2007.

For the financial year (August to July), there will be no University overhead on the first £5,000 of an academic’s net consultancy income. For any net income in excess of £5,000 in the year, an overhead of 20% will be levied. This compares with a flat minimum overhead rate of 25% currently.

The scheme will run as a pilot for two years, with an impact assessment after 12 months. Two of the key metrics which will be used to assess the scheme are the income from consultancy and the proportion of the net income that academics chose to invest back into their local research activity, via department, research centre or general fund (“K1”) accounts.

“Consultancy is one of the principal ways that a University can directly benefit the economy”, says Justin Furness, Consultancy Services Manager at the University. “Companies understand the currency of consultancy. The income from consultancy is an obvious benefit and this new scheme makes more of that income available for the academic to plough back into their research.

“Of course, the benefits from consultancy are much wider than just the financial considerations. It is an excellent way to build strategic relationships with external partners that may lead to research collaborations. Applying knowledge to solve practical problems can generate up to date case studies which enrich teaching materials. This in turn can attract students to choose to study here at Bath.”

Kevin Edge, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, adds: “The University has always encouraged academics to engage in all forms of knowledge exchange, and this pilot scheme for consultancy clearly demonstrates our desire to develop and grow this particular area.”

Academics will still need to obtain the approval of their Head of Department before starting any consultancy and should be able to demonstrate both a close link between the consultancy and their department’s strategy, and that the work complements the University’s mission.

As long as the assignment has been properly approved and contracted by the University before the work starts, it should be covered by the University’s professional indemnity insurance. This insurance cover is one of the principal benefits of carrying out consultancy through the University.

Clarifying the procedures for private consultancy

To avoid any conflicts of interest, academics should also always inform their Head of Department before starting a private consultancy assignment – i.e. work which is not passed through the University channel. It is particularly important that no use is made of University premises, stationery, email and other support systems which could imply involvement of the University in the work and also exposure to liabilities.

Private consultancy work is not covered by the University’s insurance policies and academics consulting in a private capacity are strongly advised to take out their own professional indemnity insurance.

It is important for staff to remember that they are personally responsible for the consequences of performing private consultancy work and for ensuring that clients are fully aware that the University is in no way responsible or liable in respect of consultancy work which is carried out privately by members of its staff.

In order to minimise the risks on the University, from 1 August 2007 academics working in a private capacity are required to obtain a disclaimer signed by their clients. This highlights that:

The required form that the disclaimer must take should be obtained from Research & Innovation Services (RIS) using the contact details below. The completed disclaimer should be lodged with the Head of Department and copied to Research & Innovation Services.

Contact for further information

If you are thinking about engaging in consultancy, please contact Research & Innovation Services (RIS) at the earliest opportunity. RIS is here to help you with the pricing of consultancy, as well as negotiating appropriate contractual terms with clients. RIS is also working to ensure that our clients’ experience is that we are “easy to do business with”.

Further information, including a revised electronic version of the Consultancy Costing & Approval Form, which should be completed prior to starting any work, and the disclaimer for private consultancy, is available from the RIS website Isee Related Links) . Alternatively, please contact Justin Furness, Consultancy Services Manager, on extension 4706.