We need to hire a computer scientist with a very particular specialty as a consultant for a long term industrial research project. We've read the relevant papers and so know who does good work in it. But we don't know the first thing about hiring a professor as a consultant.
- Do I just email them and say "Hi, Dr. So and so, I've read your paper about X and want to discuss hiring you as a consultant"? Or do I need some type of introduction? Specifically, if I'm coming from a small business (with the funds to hire them, mind you, but a small business nonetheless), will they take it seriously?
- How can I evaluate their abilities to be a good consultant? I know they have the brains and the know-how, but I need more than that: I need someone who will work on the problems we have, giving us a reasonable assessment of their likelihood to solve them, keeping us up to date, and clearing communicating their results.
- Once hired, how do we effectively manage them towards our goals?
- Currently, we have funding to hire them only for the initial stages. With good results, we have investors to approach, and we'd like to say "We're working on this problem; we have Prof. X on it, who's done this so far; with another $1M, we could get here." Will academics be supportive of such an arrangement?
- How do we protect our intellectual property? Our plan is to leverage existing research towards new technological applications. What's to stop our consultants from taking our ideas on their own? This is especially a concern in the initial evaluation stages, where we don't have a business relationship, but need to discuss our applications in some detail nonetheless.
Finally: Are there any resources on how to do this? Books, articles, services? We'd really like to benefit from someone's experience on this.