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Consultancy and Commercial Research Activities Expenditure Guidelines

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Section 1 - Introduction / Background

(1) The Commercial Research Policy advises that:

  1. “UOW believes that the specialist experience and skills of its academic staff members should be made available to the wider community. Academic staff members are therefore encouraged to undertake commercial research to share their expertise and experience and to transfer knowledge from UOW to the wider community.”

(2) The nature of expenditure that should be made from commercial research activities income is provided for in these Guidelines.

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Section 2 - Scope / Purpose

(3) These Guidelines stipulate:

  1. the control of accounts in the University’s financial system;
  2. the nature of expenditure which is appropriate from commercial research activity projects; and
  3. the controls that should be exercised in approving expenditure from accounts.
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Section 3 - Control of Accounts

(4) New commercial research project accounts are controlled by set procedures.

(5) New commercial research projects accounts must be approved by:

  1. Corporate Management Accountant; or
  2. Senior Manager, Operations and Research Accounting; or
  3. Research Accountant; or
  4. Commercial Accountant.

(6) Requests for expenditure are controlled by Executive Deans, Heads of School or Directors. This will ensure sufficient funds are available in commercial research project accounts to cover the payment required.

(7) Consultancy and commercial research activity project accounts will be managed as detailed in project’s Commercial Research Costing Pro Forma or Conditions of Grant form. 

(8) Any surplus funds that remain in a consultancy or commercial research activity at the end of the agreement term will be cleared and closed to a faculty operational project account.

(9) Staff members (excluding visiting and honorary academics) are permitted to hold staff consulting project accounts, provided that:

  1. Funding from a specific agreement or contract will not be placed directly into these accounts. 
  2. Funding may be allocated to these staff consulting project accounts where it is agreed with the relevant Faculty prior, and identified in a Commercial Research Costing Pro Forma of an above mentioned consultancy and commercial research activity project. 
  3. If staff members undertake Minor External Work (as defined in the Commercial Research Policy), any  income is permitted to be placed in a staff consulting project account.

(10) Prior to any payments as salary, all project costs, salary recoveries, overheads etc. will be deducted. 

(11) If a staff member has resigned:

  1. any remaining funds will be cleared and closed to a faculty operational project account; and
  2. funds remaining in commercial research project accounts vest in the University and are not available for payment as salary.
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Section 4 - Expenditure from Accounts

(12) A range of expenditure items must be charged to consultancy and commercial research activity project accounts.

(13) All costs included within the Commercial Research Costing Pro Forma or Conditions of Grant form must be charged to the applicable individual project account as per clause 15.

(14) The following types of expenditure are permitted for Staff Consulting Project Accounts:

  1. salaries and wages (including overtime and other oncosts) of staff.
  2. equipment – calculators, computers, electronic work organisers, teaching aids, audio/visual items;
  3. books and journals;
  4. professional subscriptions;
  5. travel and entertainment expenses in accordance with the Travel and Entertainment Policy;
  6. conference fees and other self-education expenses;
  7. stipends.

(15) Any equipment purchased from staff consulting project accounts remain the property of the University.

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Section 5 - Expenditure Control

(16) All purchases and payments must conform to all university Policy documents, with specific attention to the Purchasing and Procurement Policy.

(17) All transactions must be evidenced by tax invoices/receipts from suppliers of goods and services.

(18) All expenditure must be approved in accordance with the Delegations of Authority Policy

(19) All requests for approval of spouse travel expenses must be referred in advance to the Chief Operating Officer and Vice-President Operations or Vice-Chancellor and President for consideration.

(20) No staff member can approve their own items of expenditure.

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Section 6 - Carry Forward of Commercial Research Project Accounts

(21) Commercial Research project account balances will not be carried forward.

(22) Consultancy and commercial research activity project accounts will remain active for the duration of the research project as defined in the agreement.

(23) The balance of accounts will be determined by reviewing the income and expenditure over the relevant years of the project account.

(24) Project accounts may include accruals of income or expenditure to reflect the current progress of a project. If this is the case, any balance is not to be assumed as funds available for a particular staff members benefit.

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Section 7 - Roles and Responsibilities

(25) Roles and responsibilities are as detailed in these Guidelines.

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Section 8 - Definitions

Definition (with examples if required)
Commercial Research
Research activity conducted under a commercial contract that includes, but is not limited to:
  1. Consultancy
  2. Licensed Consultancy;
  3. Contract Research with government, non-government and/or private sector entities, including contract research which is funded through grants awarded to industry;
  4. Collaborative research with government, non-government (including other universities) and/or private sector entities; or
  5. Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs).
This does not include:
  1. research conducted under Australian Research Council competitive grants or other grant schemes
  2. Private Consultancy
Any project that involves an external entity buying the skills and expertise (pre-existing know how) of Staff members, and/or use of UOW equipment to work on a specified project. Consultancies generally involve the application of existing knowledge, and do not normally lead to the development of new IP.
Contract Research
Research that is conducted by UOW at the request of and paid for by external organisations. Such research may involve IP ownership negotiations, and confidentiality and publication restrictions. Contract Research generally involves a greater level of originality than a Consultancy and will lead to the development of new IP and generally results in R&D outputs as defined in Appendix 2 of the Commercial Research Policy.
Commercial Research Project Accounts
Individual project accounts that are established in the University’s financial management system to control the expenditure from Commercial Research activities.  These projects can include:
Contract Research Activity Project Account
  1. This type of project account will be used to manage the costs included within the Commercial Research Costing Pro Forma or Conditions of Grant form attached to individual contract research contracts and agreements.
Consultancy Activity Project
  1. This type of project account will be used to manage the costs included within the Commercial Research Costing Pro Forma attached to individual consultancy contracts and agreements.
Staff Consulting Project
  1. This type of project account will be used to manage any funding identified and allocated to these types of project accounts within the Commercial Research Costing Pro Forma of an above mentioned consultancy and has been agreed with the relevant Faculty prior. Any funding received as part of minor external work is to be placed into these project accounts.
Faculty Cost Recovery
The cost recovery fee applied to Commercial Research to reimburse the relevant faculty or academic unit for associated support costs.
Support costs include but are not limited to the costs of maintaining equipment, electricity, computers, IT/network services, laboratories, offices, cleaning, printers, human resources and telephones.
Note that the Faculty Cost Recovery is not intended to cover the costs of purchasing items of equipment, computers or refurbishments to accommodate new staff involved in the Commercial Research project. Such additional costs must be charged to the Client as “other” costs in the Commercial Research Costing Pro Forma.
Licenced Consultancy
A Consultancy for a specific activity or series of activities, that can be provided by UOW in the same form to a range of clients typically over a one year period with minimal administration. Examples of activities in this category include but are not limited to:
- chemistry mass spectrometry facilities;
- the drill rig in Geosciences;
- XRF equipment,
- training workshops on specific transnational crime prevention issues;
- provision of scientific reports on functional foods; and
- concrete testing in Civil and Mining.
The administration is reduced as only one Commercial Research Approval Form needs to be completed each year (so long as the activities are the same for all clients) and a standard non-negotiable contract covers these activities, which can be used with multiple clients.
License renewals are to be submitted every twelve months or on the relocation of the nominated Project Manager, whichever is the sooner.
Private Consultancy
Private advisory or other services in relation to business, research, commercialisation or start-up activities that are undertaken by academic Staff in a private capacity and not through their employment with UOW.
Project Manager
The Staff member who is the lead investigator and will take overall responsibility for ensuring that the Commercial Research activity complies with this Policy.