For staff

How EI supports you

EI’s Consultancy Office provides a comprehensive level of support services to all University staff considering undertaking consultancy and service work.

Raising your profile and sourcing consultancy opportunities

EI’s Consultancy Office actively seeks to promote the expertise available from the University’s academic consultants.  We actively source potential consultancy opportunities. If you would like us to forward any appropriate opportunities onto you, please contact us and attach a short CV and five keywords in your area of expertise. It is important that these keywords reflect terminology used within the commercial sector.


Help with contracts and fees

To safeguard the interests of the University and its staff, EI's Consultancy Office handles all contractual issues relating to consultancy and service work.


Contract and legal support

The Consultancy Business Services team provides contract and legal support to EI, and to the University’s academic community in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and signing commercial contracts and all related documents.

All agreements which are entered into on behalf of the EI and the University are reviewed to ensure compliance with legislation, University policies and best practice.

We cover a range of agreements, including but not limited to:

  • Consultancy Agreements
  • Industry related Confidentiality Agreements (CDA/NDA’s)
  • Student Assignations
  • IAA (Impact Acceleration Account) Agreements

We have created a guide that sets out the various types of legal and contracting work which arise in the University and which team within the University is responsible for giving the advice for the work type in question. If you would like to discuss a contract, please contact the team. If we are not the appropriate team, we will refer you to the correct group (for example, Legal Services or RSO).  


Ensure that an appropriate fee is charged

Before entering into any contractual agreement, please contact EI's Consultancy team for advice on what you should charge for access to your expertise.

Many factors determine an acceptable rate for the work you are carrying out such as whether you are dealing with a private or public organisation, the length of time required to complete the project and whether there is anticipated follow-up work leading on from your consultancy. All expenses that you are likely to incur in carrying out any consultancy (such as consumables, travel and subsistence, computing or equipment charges and any other identifiable costs, for example, secretarial services) should also be included in your costings.

When undertaking service work using your School’s facilities, you should ensure that instrument charges, lab time (where applicable) and consumables are included in all quotations.

A mark-up should be added to the final figure, to cover the deduction of the 30% School/University overhead from the final invoice. These overheads contribute to sundry costs which can be significant, for example, the University's Professional Indemnity Insurance.

As a publicly funded body, the University should not subsidise any project so it is important to quote correctly in the first instance.


Value Added Tax (VAT)

Tender and proposal submissions

The wording “exclusive of VAT” must be inserted after your total costs in every tender submission or communication with your external contacts.

Consultancy and service work contracts invoiced within the UK are all subject to VAT at the standard UK rate.

For contracts invoiced to European Union (EU) countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), we require an EU VAT certificate for the fee to be exempt of VAT. If no EU VAT certificate is supplied, VAT will be charged at the standard rate in accordance with the VAT regulations governing the UK.

Contracts invoiced outwith the EU EEA are exempt of VAT.


Insurance for consultancy activities

Information about insurance cover provided for academics who undertake consultancy activities, including Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Any academic carrying out consultancy work on behalf of the University of Edinburgh is automatically covered against liability claims worldwide by the University's Professional Indemnity Insurance policy. As a result, in the unlikely event that you or the University is found to be negligent in the course of carrying out your work, the University insures against this risk.

Please seek advice from the University's Insurance Office if you have any queries regarding Professional Indemnity Insurance cover.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance cover is not automatically provided should you need to travel as part of your consultancy activities. Please arrange your travel insurance in advance through the University’s Insurance Office, who can arrange for the appropriate cover. The 24-hour emergency number for hospital care and medical attention can also be obtained at the University Insurance Office.