I am working with a university on a research project. This project is a collaboration between industry and academia with the industry being the leaders. It is a computer science project working on an industry's product. The length of the project is one year, and this one year includes time to better formulate the expectations and requirements of the project.
For some background, the industry wanted to adopt some new software engineering patterns for Cloud computing (Kubernetes, Docker, microservices... yada yada) and couldn't find their way around applying these into their product. They were having some serious performance issues and looked to academia for a solution. The academics could find that it is not clear what is going on, but wanted to collaborate and understand as things develop.
Working on this project, I am finding that my greatest contributions on the project focused on identification and correction of a handful of bugs, or why 2-3 configurations could be far better. Many things look like just slight oversights and very trivial items regarding inexperience of using a library. With a constantly changing tech stack and a large software base, I can understand why these things would happen and can understand why nowadays, this would be one of the most relevant software engineering concerns and it should not be a surprise that an industry project ends up, to some degree, in this direction. At the same time, there is not much regarding novel algorithms or novel techniques...
I feel a bit confused because it feels like I'm at the fine line between computer science research and consultancy work. How would one go about presenting such work as research work e.g. to funding bodies? So I was wondering about, and hoping to start a discussion on the validity of such work and its presentation.