Academic Consultancy Policy

The purpose of this policy is to set out the framework within which consultancy carried out by academic staff will operate at the University of Glasgow, ensuring that both schools and individuals understand their roles, responsibilities, remuneration and liabilities when engaging in consultancy with external bodies.

This policy applies in addition to, and does not in any way replace, the requirement for members of academic staff to seek permission to undertake certain activities as part of or in addition to their usual job role, as set out in their terms and conditions of employment, the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy, the Policy for Intellectual Property and Rewarding Participation in Commercialisation and the Policy for Externally Funded Activities.

University employees should also be aware of the Bribery Act 2010 and the relevant Compliance Section of the University’s financial regulations.


The University of Glasgow recognises consultancy is a powerful means by which its academic staff can make available their knowledge and expertise to external partners. This develops new relationships that lead to meaningful and strategic partnerships with opportunities for research collaborations, professional development and connections into wider society. All of this in turn strengthens our reputation for world-class teaching, research and innovation, and impact.

Academic staff employed by the University of Glasgow may elect to undertake consultancies either via:

  • The University managed route (“Managed consultancy”) with support from the Academic Consultancy Service (see Section 3)
  • A private capacity (“Private consultancy”), including through privately owned companies, in accordance with the obligations for private consultants as set out in this policy (see Section 4).

Managed Consultancy through the University’s Academic Consultancy Service is actively encouraged and is central to the University’s Innovation Strategy. Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Academic Consultancy Service in the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Engagement Directorate and colleagues are encouraged to contact the team for further advice and guidance on this policy as required (

This policy is accompanied by a Staff Guide to Academic Consultancy which provides detail on the processes for undertaking consultancies.

1. Scope and purpose

1.1 This policy applies to all academic staff at grade 7 or above undertaking consultancy work for external organisations, either as an individual or as part of a team of consultants.

1.2 Academic staff are defined as staff employed within the R&T job family, which encompasses the following career tracks: Research & Teaching; Research Only; Learning, Teaching & Scholarship, Academic Clinician and Research Scientist.

1.3 Also included within the scope of this policy is consultancy for entities: (i) in which the University holds equity and/or is a shareholder and (ii) in which a member of academic staff may have a contractual or ownership interest. In these instances, academic staff are required to undertake the consultancy as Managed Consultancy.


2. Definition of consultancy

2.1 The University characterises academic consultancy as activity in which academic staff, either as individuals or as groups, are engaged by an external organisation (the client), usually on a fee-for-service basis, for the primary purpose of obtaining the benefit of knowledge, skills or/and expertise of the consultant.

2.2 Key features of consultancy are:

  • The application of existing know-how of academic staff in their field of expertise for clients outside of the University;
  • Activity that does not have as a prime purpose the generation of new knowledge (cf. research);
  • Activity that is usually governed by short-term time-bound contracts and involves work by existing academic staff;
  • The University does not normally have the freedom to publish or use the outputs for other purposes; instead, the outputs of the activity tend to be owned by the client.

2.3 This policy does not apply to those activities, paid or unpaid, which are:

  • In furtherance of scholarship (e.g. external examiner duties, authorship of or royalties from the publication of books, editorship of academic journals);
  • In furtherance of the University’s educational charitable purpose (e.g. continuing professional development);
  • Carried out by clinical academic staff in relation to the care or treatment of patients.

3. Managed Consultancy through the University's Academic Consultancy Service


3.1 General

3.1.1 Academic staff who wish to consult in their capacity as an employee of the University of Glasgow are encouraged to arrange their consultancy via the Academic Consultancy Service and to contact the Service as soon as possible when a potential consultancy project arises.

3.1.2 The Academic Consultancy Services team – with support from Legal and Contracts, Finance and Payroll – will be responsible for:

  • Provision of expert advice and administrative support for the entire project lifecycle
  • Agreeing commercial rates for the staff member’s time
  • Negotiation of contractual terms and conditions
  • Invoicing, distribution of income and debt collection

3.1.3 The University has professional indemnity insurance cover in respect of claims for negligence arising out of Managed Consultancy. The University reserves the right not to approve any proposed Managed Consultancy activity that falls outside the scope of that cover, or which presents an unacceptable legal, financial or reputational risk to the University.

3.1.4 Managed Consultancy should be completed during normal working hours, however it is acknowledged that there may be instances where this is not possible.

3.1.5 Managed Consultancies are eligible for consideration as part of a School’s REF impact case study submission.

3.1.6 Academic staff carrying out consultancy activity are personally responsible for ensuring that the proposed consultancy:

  • Is permitted under the terms and conditions set by external funders of any research in which they are involved
  • Complies with the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy and does not create a conflict with their work at the University, including the terms and conditions of any other consultancy activity or employment
  • Complies with the terms and conditions of their UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) working permissions, where applicable.

3.2 Permitted levels of managed consultancy

3.2.1 As set out in the terms of employment, academic staff are permitted to undertake up to 30 days of managed consultancy per academic year, subject to approval.

3.2.2 Pro rata arrangements apply for part-time academic staff.

3.2.3 In exceptional circumstances academic staff may be permitted to undertake further consultancy above this limit. A proposal must be developed in collaboration with the Academic Consultancy Service and submitted to the Head of College for consideration on a case-by-case basis.

3.2.4 Academic staff on a UK visa may be restricted in terms of permitted work activities and hours of work, as outlined in their visa approval letter and UKVI rules and regulations. Academic staff sponsored by the University on a Skilled Worker Visa or a Temporary Work - Government Authorised Exchange visa must obtain pre-approval from the University’s human resources/UKVI Compliance (Staff) team prior to agreeing to undertake any consultancy work.

3.3 Fee waivers

3.3.1 Academic staff can choose to give up rights to all/part of their consultancy income share in favour of their School/College.

3.3.2 HMRC requires that any fee waivers are in place before the consultancy activity is undertaken. No fees will be waived without receipt of a completed waived fee release form by the Academic Consultancy Services team prior to submission of the consultancy proposal for approval by the Head of School.

3.3.3 Academic staff can request the destination of waived funds, and ordinarily the University will apply the funds in this way, but ultimately the waived fee will be used at the discretion of the Head of School/College.

3.3.4 Funds must be used within one year of receipt.

3.4 Approval of Managed Consultancy Activity

3.4.1 Academic staff must seek the approval of their Head of School before proposing to undertake Managed Consultancy activity.

  • In the first instance, academic staff must obtain agreement in principle from their Head of School to undertake the proposed consultancy activity.
  • Following this, and once the full details of the proposed activity have been finalised, the Academic Consultancy Service will seek formal approval of the consultancy project from the Head of School.

3.4.2 If the Head of School (or equivalent) is involved in the consulting activity, the application for approval shall be made to the person at the next higher level of authority.

3.4.3 Approval for Managed Consultancy activities is not automatic and relevant factors including workload, risk, share of other duties and alternative sources of income will be considered. Individuals who are dissatisfied with the outcome of a decision may appeal in writing to their Head of College.

3.5 Income distribution for Managed Consultancy

3.5.1 Academic staff undertaking Managed Consultancy are entitled to share in the income received by the University directly from this activity.

3.5.2 All direct project costs to the University will be recovered in full before income is distributed to academic staff.

3.5.3 The remaining income will be subject to an 85:15 distribution model (staff: School/College) in which:

  • The staff member can receive 85% of the income, net of National Insurance contributions (employers and employees), apprenticeship levy and any taxes that are due or imposed, including income tax.
  • The School/College receives 15% of the income which is available to it as additional income to be utilised within the academic year.

3.6 Pro bono work

3.6.1 Academic staff may offer consultancy services to charities and non-profit organisations without charge (pro bono). In these cases, staff must still arrange their consultancy via the Academic Consultancy Service and obtain HoS approval.

3.6.2 Only under exceptional circumstances will academic staff be permitted to offer pro bono consultancy to industry or for-profit organisations.

4. Private consultancy

4.1 Academic staff who wish to undertake consultancy activity in a personal capacity, independent of their role as an academic member of staff for the University will be responsible for obtaining any independent legal or financial advice and putting in place any paperwork required.

4.2 Academic staff who are subject to UK visa restrictions and wish to undertake private consultancy however must receive pre-approval from the University’s human resources UKVI Compliance (Staff) team prior to undertaking Private Consultancy.

4.3 The University accepts no responsibility or liability for the actions of academic staff while undertaking Private Consultancy. Academic staff who engage in Private Consultancy do so at their own risk and will receive no advice or support from the University’s Academic Consultancy Services, Legal and Contracts, Finance Office or Payroll teams.

4.4 All Private Consultancy carried out by academic staff must be done outside of their normal working hours.

4.5 While academic staff are not required to seek permission to undertake private consultancy (other than where there are immigration matters to be considered as outlined in section 4.2), any Private Consultancy undertaken must not interfere with an individual’s ability to effectively carry out their duties as a member of Academic staff.

4.6 Academic staff undertaking Private Consultancy must:

  • Secure the client’s agreement to undertake their work in a private capacity, making clear that the University is not involved in the consultancy agreement in any way
  • Send the client the University’s standard liability waiver for privately contracted consultancy and return a signed copy to the Academic Consultancy Service
  • Manage their own contractual negotiations, arrangements, and invoicing
  • Arrange for any insurance (including professional indemnity, travel insurance) as appropriate
  • Make their own arrangements for any tax and national insurance payments
  • Seek approval from human resources and the UKVI Compliance (Staff) team if they are subject to visa restrictions and/or are a sponsored worker under the University’s sponsor licence.

4.7 Academic staff may not undertake Private Consultancy with clients with whom:

  • They are currently working on other projects (including research) via the University
  • The consultant has worked or will be working with on other projects (including research) via the University within a 12-month period either side of the of the date of the proposed start date of the consultancy work.

4.8 Furthermore, academic staff undertaking Private Consultancy must not make any reference to the University of Glasgow or use any of its time/resources to undertake or promote their Private Consultancy work, for example:

  • The University of Glasgow name, marques or branding
  • Their University email address, postal address, or telephone number
  • The University of Glasgow’s intellectual property
  • University facilities, equipment, or consumables
  • The University website/web domain (e.g.

4.9 Private Consultancies are ineligible for inclusion in a School’s REF impact case study submission.

4.10 Failure to adhere to the requirements contained within this section is likely to expose the University to unacceptable legal, reputational and financial risks and could result in disciplinary action.

Download a PDF version of the policy: Academic Consultancy Policy (2024)