If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.
39

Yes, some professors are available for consultancy work. Find one or two in your specialty, and approach them: some universities have directories of experts listed by subject, to help you identify suitable researchers. You'll find they're typically lower-priced than the equivalent grade of management consultant, as well as doing better work. However. ...


21

There are several issues at work here. The biggest issue here is credibility. The fact that you want to hire someone to write a study of the industry creates a conflict of interest: since you are paying the bills for such a paper, then presumably there won't be anything significant which could be construed as either negative or critical of your industry. ...


17

First, Congratulations! Second, I see you are in Canada. The first thing you should do is join your local Canadian Society of Civil Engineering chapter. Become a member, and attend their events (this may include dinner meetings, speakers, tours, etc.). Talk to people: start with "Hi, I'm Dr. X and a new professor in Civil Engineering at the U of X, ...


16

As an academic with a history of consulting, the proper way to approach the person in question is to contact him directly. Email might work but for initial contacts phone might be better. If he/she is geographically close, a face-to-face would be even better. The initial conversation is really about whether he/she is interested in consulting in his/her area ...


14

I'm at a University at the moment where this sort of thing is quite common - and indeed, my previous institution had another department where a relationship like this one actually led to a major company that hires a large number of graduates. It isn't inherently unethical, but you need to make sure that business interests and academic ones are kept separate. ...


14

Unless you're giving a veeeery long speech or speaking about something highly technical to a group of experts in the field, there is no need to interview a professor. What you're most likely trying to do is give a layman's introduction to a fairly broad field. By contrast, researchers are highly specialised in very narrow fields. A short speech is unlikely ...


11

One way, based on my experience, is to form connections through your students' internships. This gets you an "in" with the company, so that you can network and potentially collaborate. For example, my advisor got invited to give talks at two of the companies I interned at. He collaborated on projects with both companies and even received funding from one of ...


10

I would say the mean over all of academia is very low, almost zero. I would even go so far as to say that the median amount of time is zero. However, this includes all professors from all fields. It is not impossible for a Professor of German Romantic Poetry to find businesses that need their expertise but I would image them few and far between. There is ...


10

As Fomite correctly stated, it is going to vary a lot by field and also individual circumstances. In my experience, if the consulting work is roughly equivalent to what a non-academic in industry might be able to perform, then the rates will roughly be equivalent, too. This happens a lot in the engineering disciplines, and especially often in computer ...


9

Before anything else, you need to be certain about the legal ground on which you stand: Is the external work that you are doing bound by any sort of non-disclosure agreement or other agreement to which your interactions with the student would be subject? Do the university's terms of employment for the student state anything that whether a student can work ...


9

You are dealing with a legal document, and you are asking questions about legal language. The only way to get answers to your questions is to consult a legal expert. Any advice you receive here will necessarily be inferior to that dispensed by the legal expert. Having said that, you're asking good questions, and during the negotiation part of the discussion ...


9

Some universities have policies against funded PhD students doing other paid work. You may want to consult the dean's office (or the equivalent authority at your institution) about this before you sign a contract for a second job (albeit temporary), since there may be serious repercussions such as the termination of your funding. Your funding may also be ...


9

This is at core a question about networking, so the standard advice on that applies: meet as many people as possible, show interest in what they're working on, ask for introductions, and actively look for ways your expertise might benefit them. Be proactive and discard shyness. To expand on Austin's great answer, you can search yourself for internships with ...


9

Nothing is impossible, but how many hours a week do you want to work? Do you have any life beyond these two endeavors. I don't participate in a startup, but at various times have published books and software and built interesting tools for students and professionals. But the warning here is that beginning a tenure track (especially) is a very time ...


7

Is it generally true that mathematics professors do not / cannot engage in consulting work external to their universities? No, it's not true. Doing external consulting may be less common among mathematics professors than among faculty in certain other academic disciplines, but it's fairly common nonetheless. The professor would need to make sure that the ...


6

Professors at all levels of seniority and accomplishment are very busy. They have courses to teach, institutional committee service, and their own research programs. Neglecting any of these for any length of time can have a permanent impact on their career. Professors who are less accomplished or have fewer duties in one of these areas will typically have ...


6

One key question to keep in mind is why someone would want to work as a consultant, since that determines how you interact with them. You're hiring someone who already has a full-time job, and who has chosen to work in academia despite having skills that are valued by industry, so you need to convince them that this is worth their time. It's possible you ...


5

Foreword: I smell a contradiction… you talk about “very large industrial projects”, but “we are not ready to commit to a full time employee”. You need to hire a consultant… but why a faculty consultant? In pretty much any field of science, you can find decent consultants outside academia, working in, well… consulting firms. From what you describe, it seems ...


5

I'm afraid I've got to say that many of the things that one might consider an asset, are in reality going to be a hindrance. Rigour, consistency, reason, domain knowledge, ability to describe uncertainty, always prepared to put appropriate caveats on findings: these are all encumbrances in almost all management consulting. What you need to cultivate is the ...


5

Balance is always tricky but basically the guidelines that I follow are: If the consulting will help me learning something new, +1 If the consulting will pay me a lot of money, +1 If the consulting will improve my reputation, +1 If the consulting will allow me access to something I want (new data), +1 On the other hand, If it takes a lot time, -1 If ...


5

Non-disclosure documents are almost always trying to squeeze the employee. Here are a few specifics that I can glean from the snippets that you've posted. I'm not a lawyer, but honestly I don't think you need a lawyer to interpret much of the language in an NDA. ONE: The NDA First, the NDA claiming that it covers processes and know-how relating ML methods ...


5

I may sound a little strict about this, but when a guy does partly the job you are paid to do, he should get paid for it. Period. It does not matter if he is a graduate student or he thinks he must owe you a favour in exchange for a future reference letter. Slavery has been abolished (at least in civilized countries). You must pay him for his effort's worth. ...


5

Instead of hiring a person for a single white-paper, you could submit a call for project proposals, if your funding permits. Here is an example of Facebook doing this. If you want to make a general project proposal call or one that is topic-specific, then the key way to "get it out there" would be via mailing-lists. You can also directly contact research ...


5

I thought this was a rather fascinating question, and it turns out some researchers have agreed - enough to conduct their own studies! In a paper from 1985, but with too wonderful a title not to note, consider And on the Seventh Day: Faculty Consulting and Supplemental Income Obviously one will want to review this paper, as it's full of interesting ...


5

Good answers so far (+1 to both). I would also suggest to leverage any interactions with your undergraduate students on their capstone / senior design project in those cases where the students seek out an external client. At my institution, some students work on solving a problem for industrial clients that are located nearby, and I have gotten to know ...


4

I experienced working as a consultant during a year in a PhD program. On the upside, I earned more than my cohort was in our fully funded program. On the downside, stepping out of a lecture to take a client's phone call was one of my experiences. Having to handle the fallout of another client's death during finals was another, when one client suddenly ...


4

He should just use his official employer. There are lots of scientific papers from people with affiliations in industry. Most of the time, these authors are working for companies in technical fields that are at least somewhat related to the research, but not always. (I knew of somebody who was still working with his doctoral advisor doing research in ...


4

I have done both, and let me tell you it boils down to how hard you want to fall into entrepreneurship. I did research for my own sake and did teaching, to see students smile when their code compiled; but let me warn you with peace and love that both startups and doing research/teaching are both very stressful. So: If you want to be serious about ...


3

Ask around. This is going to vary wildly by field, by sub-field, by school, by academic rank, etc. The best way to find out is to ask colleagues what they make, more senior colleagues what they'd expect and if they think a particular rate is reasonable, etc. While people are occasionally hesitant about asking salary questions, I've not run into anyone ...


3

I can't speak for the IS field, but I think that there's a strong chance that your time in industry would be considered as a break from doing research relevant to academia. Unless you are regularly publishing papers in the relevant journals or conferences, your time working outside of the academy will be perceived as time idle. Now, that being said, market ...


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