Academic Consultancy

Alta Innovations Ltd provides an experienced and professional administrative, legal and financial service to academics wishing to engage in consultancy for external clients. 


We provide professional indemnity insurance, contract negotiation, legal and taxation advice, invoicing, credit control and payment to the academic in a tax-efficient manner.  

Our aim is to take on the administrative and contractual burden enabling you to focus on the work.

Consultancy work brings academics closer to industry and real world challenges through:

  •  Advice and assistance with a client’s proprietary technology
  •  Access to research
  •  Expert witness testimony
  •  Problem solving
  •  Independent adjudication and report writing
  •  Project management
  •  Appointment to scientific and other advisory panels
  •  Tendering for research and development projects
  •  Testing and analysis
  •  Access to College facilities

No two consultancy projects are the same and Alta Innovations can advise on the potential structure of a project whilst ensuring that any intellectual property issues are considered. Consultancy is a useful and often lucrative source of additional income for academics with day rates negotiated at commercial rates.  

Consultancy projects vary enormously from a few days ad hoc assistance to long-term appointments and securing of substantial contracts via the establishment of Operating Divisions.


 Benefits of consultancy

  •  Interaction with industry and commercial partners
  •  Potential research projects
  •  Financial benefits accrue personally to academics

 Using Alta Innovations


Alta Innovations ensures that all contracts are in an acceptable legal framework and that the interests of the academic and University are protected.  It negotiates a commercial fee rate and ensures that if department/college facilities are required that these have been costed appropriately. Alta Innovations will discuss with academics the most tax efficient manner of receiving payment and will ensure that the contract negotiated reflects this. Payment can be received personally or to a research account free of tax.

For each consultancy project the following procedure is undertaken:

  1.  Initial discussion between academic and Alta Innovations on the potential project
  2.  Instruction from academic for Alta Innovations to be engaged
  3.  Alta Innovations negotiates the financial and legal framework of the project
  4.  Contracts signed either between Alta Innovations and the client or the academic personally and the client
  5.  The work is undertaken and the academic requests an invoice be issued
  6.  Alta Innovations invoices the client according to the contract
  7.  When funds have been received distribution is made to the academic

Alta Innovations charges a fee to cover its costs in providing the above services to academics and this is allowed for in the commercial rate that it negotiates

 Using internal facilities


Departmental and College facilities may be used for consultancy projects but these need to be charged to the client concerned. Alta Innovations will advise as appropriate on the use of such facilities.

  Operating divisions


Operating divisions enable academics to bid for and secure contracts under a trade or brand name of their choice. Rather than establish a private limited company that will not be covered by the University’s professional indemnity insurance, an operating division enables academics to benefit from the limited liability and VAT registration of Alta Innovations. Typically operating divisions bid for significant contracts in the tens of thousands of pounds.

 Risks of private consultancy


Academics are encouraged to use the services of Alta Innovations Ltd but they do not have to.  They may engage in private consultancy but must secure a legal disclaimer from Alta Innovations Ltd beforehand which states that their work is not connected to the University in any way. In addition they may not use University facilities including telephones, email or letterhead.

As an academic the main risks of undertaking private consultancy are:

  •  You are personally liable for the work and should have professional indemnity insurance in place
  •  You may undersell your expertise
  •  You may need advice on commercial and legal aspects of negotiating a contract.

Alta Innovations Ltd has the required professional indemnity insurance and legal and commercial expertise to protect your interests.


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