Establish a small research consultancy

In accordance with University Policy, all external research grants should be established via Research Services. The following process applies to small (less than $25,000) research consultancies. This process must be completed for each research consultancy even if the cost collector already exists.

Research is defined in HERDC as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes. This definition of research encompasses pure and strategic basic research, applied research and experimental development.

Applied research is original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge but directed towards a specific, practical aim or objective (including a client-driven purpose).


Step 1:

Provide documentation to Research Services

To establish an external research consultancy, Research Services requires copies of the following documentation:

  • Correspondence from the funding agency (e.g. Industry Organisation) stating the level of funding and clearly stating if this is inclusive or exclusive of GST, invoicing requirements with an ABN and a copy of any conditions of the funding;
  • A completed Grant Establishment Form – small research consultancy(DOC);
  • A brief description of how the project/activity meets the HERDC definition of research.

Legal Review

If there is a legal contract then the funds will be treated as a normal research grant and will not be processed as a small research Consultancy. 

The responsibility for accepting research grants and signing research agreements and contracts rests with the University, not the individual researcher. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) has a delegation of authority to sign such documents on behalf of the University.

Ethics clearances or Safety Approvals

If a project requires Human Ethics, Animal Ethics or Safety Approval (other than existing approved local level review) then it will be treated as a normal research grant and will not be treated as a small research consultancy.

All grants funding research projects conducted at the University or by staff and students of the University requiring Human Ethics, Animal Ethics or Safety approval must have the required clearances in hand before the Research Office will authorise the creation of a cost collector.

Step 2:

Financial establishment and allocation of cost collector

Researchers will have the ability to have one cost collector per HERDC category (category 2 or 3) for the receipt of multiple research consultancies.

Once the documentation has been received Research Services will record this in RIMS and forward the information to Financial Services who will generate the invoice for deposit into the researcher's existing research consultancy cost collector. If this cost collector doesn't already exist then Financial Services will create this and advise the researcher of the cost collector directly.

A flat rate of 25% overheads will apply to all small research consultancies.

The expenditure of the funds must be firstly to complete the activity and overall the funds must be spent in line with the same conditions relating to the restricted 'bridging' (transitional NI) cost collectors. Download Guidelines for Restricted Research Costs Collectors (PDF).

Once the consultancy activity is completed the remaining funds can be transferred at the researcher's request into a restricted bridging cost collector

Further Information

For further information or assistance in establishing your research consultancy, please contact research-grants@newcastle.edu.au or phone (02) 492 17733.

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