WIT encourages staff to engage in external consulting in order to maintain and develop their professional competence, keep up to date with developments and innovations in business and the professions and to support regional economic and social development by sharing the Institute’s scientific and academic knowledge and facilities with business, the professions and the wider community.
The Research Office (RO) provides administrative support and has overall responsibility for Institute Consultancy Services. These procedures are in place for transparency and accountability as well as the legal protection of the Institute and its staff. They should not in any way hinder the establishment of links with appropriate outside institutions, companies and individuals or involvement in joint research for industry/institute co-operation.
You can download our Consultancy Policy and the FAQs below may help to answer any questions you might have surrounding WIT's consultancy activities.
The WIT policy has been applied to all staff irrespective of their grade or work activity. This was reviewed against international standards and deemed to be appropriate though it is clearly detailed that all staff must have line manager approval. This is to ensure any consultancy activity does not negatively impact our day-to-day operations.
There are many reasons why WIT does consultancy – it is part of our strategic objective (to engage with external bodies and support the socio-economic development of the South East/Ireland) though there are lots of other reasons including:
- Income generation directly
- Impact case studies
- Profile raising for institution and academics
- Work experience/internships for students
If you are providing a service that is not generating any IP then this is almost certainly consulting. If you are generating IP then it is likely to be research and development. If in doubt consult the TTO. Note all services generate a service tax (check with finance for the prevailing rate).
A reasonable approach is to engage with the client in a non-confidential discussion. If there is common ground and both parties would like to proceed ask the TTO to issue a confidentiality agreement to protect both parties. Once signed a more robust conversation can take place in relation to the services required. The TTO will provide advice and support in relation to contracts and formalities.
Yes in principal though it is important before submitting any bid that you seek approval from you line manager and advise the RSU/finance. This will ensure we can comply with the specific terms.
It depends – we must be competitive with the market and not distort prices as we are a public body. The TTO/finance will be able to provide guidance. If you are part of a centre it is likely that your centre manager will already have a rate card for services.
When money is generated expenses, consumables and other costs must be paid for and any ‘excess’ will be put into your consultancy account (a p code). This money can be used to assist in the activities of the group, centre or alternatively can be taken as income (subject to tax). Advice on how to access the money in this consultancy account and rules around use of the money will be provided by finance.
Overhead which is charged on the consultancy rate is treated no different to overhead on research projects. Details can be found in the overhead policy. For a detailed discussion contact the RSU.
The Institute does not currently have a dedicated consultancy unit though if this activity develops significant this may change. Currently the activities are supported through the ILM and the TTM.
It can be daunting taking on a first piece of consultancy work and also very exciting. At all times the Institute will seek to provide professional services. If you have not provided consultancy in the past then please consultant your line manager, the ILM, TTO and finance. Some things to consider:
- Project management
- Stage gate payments for larger projects
- Due diligence on the client
- 50% upfront payments – lower the financial risks
- Consider GDPR and other policies.
Don’t be put off – the Institute will support you through the engagement but please communicate early and often.
A well-planned and executed project can still lead to disputed though where contracts are managed well it is easier to resolve. Ensure regular updates to the client in writing (email for example) and seek feedback. If an issue arises with respect to a deliverable or a contractual matter consult the ILM or TTO for advice.
The vast majority of our projects run smoothly with content clients. The few that have gone wrong are usually remedied quickly. Don’t let it fester!
Yes, the institute has a set of KPI in relation to a consultancy which includes:
- Average contract value
- Number of academics/new academics engaging
- Number of contracts