Working as a consultant through Cambridge Enterprise or leveraging the practitioner team through IfM Education and Consultancy Services were the options explored in detail in the most recent seminar run by “Inspiring Research through Industrial Collaboration” and the Research Capability Programme.
Paul Seabright described how to work through Cambridge Enterprise, linking also to an engaging video that describes how they work (www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk/university-community/consultancy-services). The volume and value of consulting through CE continues to increase every year and the size of the projects is also increasing. Although most assignments arise from companies directly contacting the academic in the first instance, CE is happy to provide advice – even if the academic then decides not to use CE’s services.
Hugh Hunt went on to describe the successes he has had working through Cambridge Enterprise, and some of the difficulties he’s experienced consulting independently. Hugh also described some of the projects he’s done, emphasising how CE enables an international reach by managing tax, contracts, exchange rates and liability issues in working as far afield as the US and Australia. Hugh also values CE’s help in working on projects which are not necessarily big – but in which there is plenty that could go wrong and give rise to some serious liabilities – see for example, building the bouncing bomb: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik9vCg-xRr4 ! Hugh also puts the interesting consultancy projects on his web page (www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~hemh/) and finds that they attract people and projects. In fact, some projects that start as consultancy then turn into interesting research.
Peter Templeton described the different model of IfM Education and Consultancy Services (www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/services/overview/) as an alternative for academics wanting to scale their dissemination work up in scope and reach. ECS has developed a network of very experienced and well-qualified consulting practitioners. As a research area develops, the academics work closely with the practitioners, consulting to clients and developing both the research and the methodologies for wider use. As the methodologies become more formalised so the practitioners take them over and apply them in industry. And then funding from industry covers not only the consulting time, but also contributes to the underlying intellectual property so recognising and rewarding the researchers who developed the initial ideas and worked them up for application. Although most of their work today is in management consultancy and policy advice, ECS is exploring how to support more technical consulting work.
So if you think you’d like to work with a team that’s ready to multiply your efforts contact Peter at ECS (firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you’d like a packaged and hassle-free way of consulting as a sole-practitioner then contact Paul at Cambridge Enterprise (email@example.com).
And if you’d like copies of their slides, contact Charles Boulton (firstname.lastname@example.org)