Making a Consultancy Bid

What is Consultancy?

Consultancy is normally characterised as an activity where an individual is required to provide the benefit of their personal knowledge or experience in a particular field, usually on a sole basis. It will typically be a small number of days, and make limited use of University facilities (which must be paid for in full). Consultancy generally makes use of University expertise, but would not normally be expected to generate new intellectual property (IP) or lead to academic publication. Typically, consultancy would generate client-specific information or data, which would normally belong to the client.
Examples of Consultancy include:
  • Advice to a company on its research or product development
  • Member of a steering or advisory group of a commercial project or trial
  • Member of an advisory group for a public sector body for a specific project or activity
  • Interpretation of the results of analysis
  • Policy and procedural reviews
  • Acting as an expert witness or undertaking assessments
  • Technology road mapping
  • Market research and technology audits
  • Feasibility and scoping studies

Other Services covers:
  • Use of a standard process to provide analysis and testing work where no substantive advice is given
  • Delivery of training or development
Consultancy does not normally include:
  • Provision of teaching and training including continuing Professional Development and short courses
  • Writing articles or other publications
  • Book or peer reviewing
  • Advising on publications
  • Occasional external examining and lecturing
  • Broadcasting and giving outside lectures
  • Development of a piece of original work which will yield new results and a publishable paper.

Consultancy approvals process

Staff making bids for consultancy work must ensure that these bids for work are accurately costed and approved prior to agreeing to undertake any consultancy work for an external client/funder. It is recognised that staff making consultancy bids often have a matter of days, perhaps only hours, to put that bid together in response to the demands of the potential client. Consultancy bids are therefore not subject to the same level of review or the same approval processes as those required for a research funding bid (which will normally be much more detailed in content and have a much longer lead in period)       

Costings should be agreed with and approved prior to agreeing to undertake any consultancy work. Individual consultancy day rates for staff can be supplied in advance to facilitate negotiations with external clients. These day rates will only be valid for the time period stated and any adjustments to the official must be discussed and agreed prior to agreement of the work.
When a final bid for work is ready to be sent off a copy of that bid should be sent to the Research Funding Office (RO) along with any associated approval emails from the specific HoI. The lead investigator should also complete the online form. If no approvals have been granted, the RO will approach the HoI to ensure that the staff member is ok to proceed. Once the RO have ensured that all necessary approvals have been received and the correct rate has been used, the work can be agreed with client/funder. The bid will then be logged on the University’s database as ‘awarded’.
Any contract or agreement should be sent to the RO for review and should be signed by the DPVC Research on behalf of the University.