Consulting activity


Consulting activity is one of the important means by which staff at the University of Oxford can make available their knowledge and expertise to government, public sector organisations, community groups and business. Such interactions in turn benefit the University, as staff bring back to their teaching, research and other roles the insights, experiences and contacts they have gained as consultants. Consultancies may lead to long(er)-term collaboration and relationships.

Consulting Services, part of Oxford University Innovation (OUI), offers specialist advice and support for Oxford colleagues who are interested in consulting. Consulting Services takes care of all contractual, IP and legal issues, insurance, negotiating and securing competitive rates and terms, handling client invoicing, consultant payment and client debt collection.

University staff undertaking consultancy as outside work

Council Regulations 5 of 2004  set out the conditions under which university employees may conduct work outside the University, including consulting.

Consulting, in this context, is where a person is engaged by a third party on a personal fee-for-service basis for the primary purpose of obtaining the benefit of professional knowledge, skills or expertise. Where an organisation wishes to fund research,  the agreement should be in the form of an appropriate research contract  with the University, through Research Services, and not a consultancy agreement.

The University’s Consultancy policy and procedures (187kb)  emphasise the many benefits of consulting activity.

Staff may elect to undertake consultancies either

  • through Consulting Services, or
  • privately/independently, including through privately-owned companies, subject to certain requirements

subject in either case to specific undertakings and prior approval from their Head of Department, Faculty Board Chairman, or Head of Division as appropriate, as explained in the Consultancy Policy and Procedures

Advisory note for Non-EEA Nationals: If you are currently working in the UK under a work visa, you are advised to ensure that your visa entitles you to carry out consultancy.

Quick links
Working with Consulting Services at OUI
Private/Independent Consulting
External research funding conditions that may relate to consulting

Consulting on an Oxford-administered research project

In some instances an Oxford PI will wish to engage a consultant on their research project – please see our separate advice on engaging a consultant on an Oxford-administered research project as to how this should be handled.

Oxford departments wishing to engage the services of a consultant (general)

University departments may wish to engage the services of an external consultant, for example as a group facilitator, to deliver training or provide specialist advice germane to departmental operations.

Please contact Purchasing, part of the Finance Division, who will provide advice on the process and supply documentation for the Department to complete.