ITG Feature – Consulting: Who, Why, How, What?

ITG Feature
August 6, 2016 By Applied Innovation

The University of California encourages faculty to participate in outside professional activities that contribute to their profession and to the broader community and impact University’s public service mission. Engagement with the outside community is also an important component of the academic enterprise and one way in which faculty, researchers, and students foster and grow relationships with our community and various industries. This knowledge also guides faculty in maintaining research directions and priorities that exist in the private sector, and for students – helping them prepare for careers in the private sector.

Who may be a consultant?

ITG encourages faculty to seek consulting opportunities within their field of expertise. Companies may contact ITG for specific faculty in specific fields to whom they may want an introduction. Faculty can also make it known to specific companies that they would be receptive to a collaboration and consulting arrangement. Researchers and graduate students might also seek out consulting opportunities.

Why should I consider consulting?

Consulting is an opportunity to develop further experience in your particular field of expertise and work on problems facing industry today. This in turn may lead to more interesting research directions back at UCI. Companies that hire UCI consultants may be more receptive to licensing technologies from that consultant’s portfolio of available technologies at UCI, and sponsoring research in the consultant’s lab. Consulting arrangements also help to foster relationships between UCI and industry.

What should I consider when consulting?

Before beginning consulting arrangements, ITG recommends a few key things to help protect both the consultant and the outside entity being consulted. Listed below are a few areas that UCI-affiliated consultants should understand before pursuing consulting arrangements:
Consulting Agreements: Before beginning a consulting arrangement, consulting agreements should be in place with clear definitions of the technical scope and financial terms of the consulting activity. A consulting agreement is a personal agreement between the consultant
and outside entity for which the consultant is personally responsible and to which UCI is not a party. The agreement should be consistent with University employment obligations and with the requirement to disclose and assign inventions to the University. As a courtesy, ITG can aid in reviewing consulting agreements prior to execution by the consultant.
Intellectual Property Obligations: Under the UCI Faculty-signed Patent Acknowledgement Agreement, Faculty must disclose to ITG all inventions made through outside professional activity and assign to the University inventions that are within their UCI employment or where University resources were used to develop the invention.

ITG will generally not require an assignment if the activity:

1. Does not make use of University time   or research facilities and/or any gift,  grant, or contract funds administered   through the University;
2.    Does not incur or conflict with  any University obligations to other   parties; and
3.    Is considered to be outside the faculty   member’s UCI scope of employment.
Scope of Employment: the consultant’s scope of work with the outside entity should be specific to the business interests of the company and clearly distinguishable from the scope of employment that he/she is obligated to with UCI.