Consultancy and Investigational Work

P1295/OP1

 

Regulations Governing Consultancy and Investigational Work

Introduction

The University shall consider and approve consultancy and investigational work of good intellectual quality which will contribute to the effectiveness of teaching and research performance of staff at the University and is beneficial to the profession and the society at large. Staff members who wish to undertake consultancy and investigational work should acquaint themselves with regulations set out in this document and to follow the required procedures for seeking the necessary approval for undertaking the consultancy and investigational work.

Types of Consultancy & Investigational Work

2.    Given the varied nature of consultancy & investigational work, it would be difficult to draw up an exhaustive list of different types of consultancy & investigational work. In general, work projects should be classified as "Consultancy & Investigational Work if:-

a. there is a client involved;

b. the work will involve use of University facilities and/or equipment;

c. the work will involve money going through the University; and

d. the work will involve a professional fee to the Investigator (staff /department/centre) apart from expenditure and disbursements.

3.    Projects/courses run by departments/offices/established centres meeting the above characteristics shall be classified as consultancy & investigational work and shall be subject to regulations set out hereunder. In case of doubt, staff members or departments should seek the necessary confirmation from the Vice-President (Research and Development) as to whether the work project concerned should be classified as consultancy & investigational work or otherwise.

Application Procedures and Criteria for Approving Consultancy and Investigational Work

4.    The President & Vice-Chancellor shall be the approving authority for all cases of consultancy and investigational work. The procedures for seeking the necessary approval for undertaking consultancy and investigational work are set out below :

a. In making an application for undertaking consultancy & investigational work, the staff member concerned must provide clear and complete information in respect of the following areas :

i. the nature of consultancy and investigational work;

ii. the name of the client;

iii. estimated time and duration to be spent on such work in terms of working hours/days and number of months/years to complete the project,

iv. fee/income to be derived from the work and the proposed budget; and

v. most important of all, the reason for undertaking such work in terms of how the work will contribute to his/her effectiveness in teaching and research work at the University.

b. For teaching staff, the application should be thoroughly discussed and considered at the Faculty/School level before it is recommended by the Dean of Faculty/School to the President & Vice-Chancellor for approval.

c. For non-teaching staff, the application should be considered by the Head of Office in the first instance before recommendation to the respective Vice-President (according to the reporting relationship of offices) and subsequently the President & Vice-Chancellor for final approval.

d. In considering the application from the staff member concerned, the following criteria will need to be met before granting approval :

i. the intellectual quality of the proposed work shall be of primary importance in that the President & Vice-Chancellor must be satisfied that it will contribute to the effectiveness of the staff member's teaching and research work performance at the University; and is beneficial to the profession and the community as a whole;

ii. the time scheduled to be committed for such work will fall within the imposed limit and will not interfere with the staff member's normal university duties; and

iii. the proposed work will not cause any conflict of interest with the staff member duties and work at the University.

e. For each approved case of consultancy and investigational work, the approval letter shall be copied to the Dean of Faculty/School, the Head of Department/Office, the Finance Office, and the Personnel Office, for information and necessary follow-up action.

Limit of Staff Time to be Committed to Consultancy and Investigational Work

5.    The maximum permissible time for a staff member to spend on approved consultancy and investigational work is limited to one working day per week on average, to avoid the excessive use of staff time at the expense of academic pursuit.

Recovery of all Overhead Cost Incurred for Consultancy and Investigational Work

6.    It is the University's intention to encourage consultancy and investigational work of good intellectual quality. Moreover, since the approval of such activities is not based upon or motivated by financial consideration, the University does not require sharing of income derived from such work. Instead, the University requires reimbursement by the staff member concerned of all overhead cost incurred in carrying out the consultancy and investigational work, including: direct cost (e.g. the identifiable use of support staff time, specialized equipment, computing/photocopying services, consumable materials, University premises etc. and any item requiring a disbursement or charging by the University) as well as indirect cost (e.g. the administrative services, the access to University facilities etc.).

7.    To meet this requirement of "recovery of all overhead costs" incurred, the staff member concerned should prepare the budget in such a way that the fee charged to the client shall include the reimbursement of all direct cost incurred by the University, in addition to which a 10% of the total cost so calculated should also be included for compensating the University (to be shared with the individual Faculty/School when appropriate) for all indirect cost involved. Items of expenditure which are directly paid by the client without going through the University could, however, be excluded. To summarize, the budget prepared by staff member concerned should include the following parts :

    Part A

    Professional Fee/Equipment Cost etc. and reimbursement of Direct Overhead Cost incurred by the University (e.g. support staff time, use of University's specialized equipment, consumables, and premises etc.)

     

     

     

    +

    Part B

    10% of Part A for reimbursing the University for all indirect cost incurred (e.g. administrative services, use of University's facilities etc.)

     

     

     

    =

     

     

    Total charge to the client for the Consultancy and Investigational Work

Monitoring of Consultancy & Investigational Work

8.    Subsequent to the approval of the President & Vice-Chancellor, the Dean/Head of Office should ensure that all direct and indirect cost involved including administrative charges and supporting staff time have been properly accounted for in the budget prepared by the staff member to the client for the consultancy work. The staff member should be reminded that no liability should be attached to the University of the consultancy work to be undertaken and in this connection, the staff member should be advised to consider carrying insurance to cover himself/herself against possible claims arising from such work.

9.    The Office of the Vice-President (Research and Development) will then take up the technical arrangements with the staff concerned, to ensure that the staff concerned will:

i. indemnify the University against any liability, loss, claims or proceedings arising out of or in the course of carrying out the consultancy or investigational work;

ii. ask the client to sign an acknowledgment as required by the University and set out below before commencement of work :-

"The Undersigned acknowledge that one of your staff name of the staff member concerned (the appointee) who may from time to time be requested to perform certain consultancy and investigational work for us will not be considered by us as your employee but as an independent contractor to the intent that you will be under no vicarious liability to us or anyone else in respect of anything done, omitted or suffered by the appointee in the course of such work and we understand that in consideration of this acknowledgment you will permit him/her to undertake any suitable work requested by us."

iii. ensure that all costs incurred by the University for the consultancy or investigational work are properly recovered from the fees charged to the client in accordance with regulations as stipulated by the University.

10.    During the course of the approved consultancy and investigational work, the Vice-President (Research and Development) will continue to monitor the work and will report to the President & Vice-Chancellor in cases of suspected malpractice and/or other dispute.

Conclusion

11.    The University shall keep these regulations under constant review; and will promulgate to all staff via the Dean/Head of Office any revision/amendments to the regulations as appropriate in future.

 

 

Personnel Office
September 2007