REDI Business FAQs


1. What is the role of REDI Business?

REDI Business is part of REDI (Research Engagement, Development and Innovation) and connects business, government and the community with Western Sydney University by establishing external linkages and identifying partnership opportunities for contract research, professional consultancy, commercialisation opportunities, access to intellectual property and expertise, and to the University's cutting-edge research facilities.

The immediate team consists of Acting Business Development Manager, Dr André Urfer; Business Development Advisers, Dr Michaela Tymichova and Nathanael Small, and one Senior Administrative Officer, Laura Robinson. REDI Business works closely with colleagues from across the wider REDI team.

Visit our website or contact redi@westernsydney.edu.au to discuss your specific needs and interests with our team of dedicated business support professionals.

2. What services does REDI Business provide?

In close consultation with researchers and external partners, REDI Business can help frame up projects and associated deliverables to maximise benefits for all involved. We help with the budget to charge appropriately for the project at hand. REDI Business will formalise contracts and manage invoicing for projects. REDI Business can help bring together our researchers and potential partner organisations and provide advice on relevant funding programs that may be accessible.

By engaging early with REDI Business, we can:

  • Provide a relationship framework to support academics and partners from industry, government, community and other research organisations
  • Add value during the scoping stage by:
    • Considering contract research vs Consultancy models
    • Investigating co-funding opportunities, particularly government schemes directed at industry collaboration
    • Securing research support, e.g. Higher Degree Research students, post-docs, research assistants
    • Promoting research outcomes
    • Maximising impact opportunities
    • Generating retained earnings (see Q14)
  • Navigate the WSU administration by:
    • Reviewing proposals
    • Pricing projects
    • Securing internal approvals
    • Assisting in contractual negotiations
  • Identify appropriate partners and opportunities, primarily through industry networking.

3. How do these services differ from services provided by REDI Research?

REDI Research provides support for competitive or sponsored grants. Examples include the major project funding by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and extend to grants offered by a wide range of foundations and public sector organisations. Central to competitive grants are a number of specific core criteria:

  • Publicly available selection criteria
  • Project developed primarily by the researcher(s)
  • Peer or expert reviewed applications
  • Publicly available rules for the conduct of assessments
  • A set of requirements that recipients must fulfil

REDI Business does not normally provide support for these types of projects. Please contact REDI Research for enquiries.

Note that some of these criteria can also apply to industry-oriented projects supported by REDI Business, such as competitive tenders. REDI Business and REDI Research will coordinate internally how to best support projects appropriately.

4. How can REDI Business assist researchers?

Strong relationships are the foundation for successful collaborations. Building and nurturing relationships with industry takes time and requires commitment from all parties. Researchers that are most successful in developing ongoing research partnerships are those that invest resources in knowing their industry and making contacts. At the core is a deep understanding of the challenges that potential partners face and the ability to offer timely, well-tailored solutions. REDI can assist in many aspects of this process but is also reliant on researchers to work in partnership with us to develop and maintain relationships. REDI Business:

  • Reaches out to Institutes and Schools to understand the capabilities and interests of our researchers in order to be able to promote them more effectively
  • Can support academic attendance at industry events
  • Networks broadly with industry representative bodies and associations to identify trends and opportunities
  • Can initiate industry focused training for researchers
  • Provides administrative support – scoping, budgeting, contract negotiation, project administration (as distinct from project management, which is the responsibility of the academic project lead)
  • Encourages academics to network in their field of knowledge and to share common interest with partners without the need to enter into commercial discussion on how to do business with the university
  • Does not regularly source partners for individual projects

For all projects, regardless of value, it is REDI's responsibility to coordinate and manage administration on behalf of the University. We will ensure a streamlined process through:

  • Close consultation with all researchers contributing to the project throughout the planning and negotiation stages. REDI will be active in negotiations as required
  • Advice regarding models by which to conduct the project and for the disbursement of funds. Options include completion of work within or above ordinary workload and associated disbursement of funds via the School/Institute or as additional salary direct to the researchers
  • Establishment of a flexible account to roll funds over between calendar years
  • Provision of template documentation for budgeting and contracting
  • Assistance with budgeting in accordance with the University pricing principles

5. What documents are needed to set up a project?

To set up a project, REDI Business requires the following paperwork (completed in order):

  1. A short project proposal/description
  2. An agreed budget complying with University pricing principles
  3. An online clearance form (login required) approved by the relevant Dean(s)/Director(s) (see Q10)
  4. Executed contract with the external partner(s). The Executive Director, REDI will sign contracts on behalf of the University

These documents are often only finalised following ongoing discussion with a partner. REDI will work with researchers to compile this documentation.

6. What are the principles for the pricing of projects?

Pricing contract research or consultancy should aim to properly value the researcher's expertise at market rates and cover institutional costs of projects. Because contract research and consultancy projects are charged at market rates, there is often an opportunity to build a premium in to the budget that is then made available to the team to support future projects. Pricing should not, without good reason, undercut the prices that would be charged for comparable work by competing contractors or consultants, so as not to contravene the "NSW Government Policy Statement on the Application of Competitive Neutrality" (2002).

Prices should be presented to the client as a total value that will include all salaries and on costs (see Q7), the premium the researchers place on their expertise, prescribed percentages for indirect costs (see Q8) plus GST (see Q9). Where appropriate, a budget can be broken down to show individual line items (for instance salaries, consumables, travel) though on-costs and indirect costs will be spread across those items rather than displayed as standalone items.

Where the funding available is less than the full costs (including indirect costs), the project should be fully priced and the approved in-kind contributions shown on the quotation.

REDI Business will assist in creating a detailed budget for all contract research and consultancy, which is a confidential internal document and should not be disclosed to the client. REDI will assist in re-formatting that budget to make it appropriate for an external audience.

The following table highlights the difference between Cost and Price.

CostPrice
The cost that Western Sydney University pays, consisting of direct costs (cost of labour, researcher time, operating costs) and indirect costs. The price that the client pays for the researcher’s expertise. The price is usually greater than the cost.
The cost is the cost. The price depends on the market, the client, funding rules, competitive neutrality and Trade Practices Act requirements. Pricing methods can vary.
Determined by internal drivers. Determined by external factors.
Does not include GST. Does attract GST.

7. What are on costs?

In addition to salary costs, Western Sydney University is liable for payment of costs covering Payroll Tax, Workers Compensation, Superannuation and Long Service Leave. These on costs must be factored into the total cost of all contracts. Ongoing and fixed-term employees receive 17% employer superannuation contributions. On costs for permanent, temporary and casual staff are summarised in the table below.

On Cost ComponentsPermanent/TemporaryCasual
Payroll Tax 6.45% 6%
Workers Compensation Insurance 0.40% 0.40%
Employee Superannuation Contributions and Superannuation Guarantee Levy 17% 9.5%
Long Service Leave 3.15% -
Total On Costs 27% 15.9%

Refer to on costs for more details.

The amount of on costs is confidential and should not to be disclosed externally.

8. What are indirect costs?

Indirect costs refer to ongoing expenses incurred by organisations that are not related only to a particular project, such as insurance, lighting, cooling, heating, electricity, water, gas, computers, printers, telephones, paper, office supplies, equipment, internet, WiFi, rent and other extras. Indirect costs are also referred to as overheads, levies, infrastructure costs, administrative costs or fees.

Indirect costs are a genuine cost of doing business and must be included in all budgets unless a specified exception applies.

To make allowances for these indirect costs, projects set up through REDI, either REDI Business or REDI Research, attract overheads of 35% (based on total direct costs).

The 35% overheads are made up of three components:

  • University overhead (15%);
  • School/Institute overhead (15%); and
  • REDI Commercial Development Fund overhead (5%).

Overhead variations apply under the following circumstances:

  • For projects of $100,000 or less (excluding GST) per annum, the 15% University overhead is waived, with total overheads of 20%;
  • For projects with registered charities, all overheads are waived and total overheads are 0%;
  • For scholarships, all overheads are waived and total overheads are 0%; or
  • Funding rules are in place that stipulate specific overhead requirements.

Overheads can be varied with written approvals from:

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation) and Vice-President (Finance and Resources) for University overhead;
  • Dean/Director for School/Institute overhead; and
  • Executive Director, Research, Development and Engagement, Research Engagement, Development and Innovation (REDI) for REDI overhead.

The amount of on indirect costs is confidential and should not to be disclosed externally.

9. Is GST applicable?

The goods and services tax (GST) is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia. WSU is required to charge GST on supplied goods and services, including contract research and consultancies.

GST is not payable on overseas funding for research that is carried out in Australia, provided that the results are being supplied to someone outside Australia, and are being 'consumed' outside Australia. The research is classified as a GST-free supply for export.

GST is payable if overseas researchers undertake the work at WSU and then take the research results back to their country. The researchers are personally undertaking the work here and the results are being provided to them while they are in Australia. Even though the results will be used overseas, GST applies.

GST does not apply if research donations are made through the University, and given as a donation, endowment or gift, provided that the donation: (a) is made voluntarily; (b) does not provide a material benefit to the donor; and (c) arises from benefaction, and results from detached and disinterested generosity. A donation to conduct a specific piece of research and then provide a report to a business or company is subject to GST as the donor is receiving a material benefit. If the donation is provided to conduct research into a field, where the results will be published in academic journals, then it is not subject to GST. Donations are administered by the WSU Advancement and Alumni Team.

The Australian Taxation Office (opens in a new window) website has more GST information

10. What is the purpose of the clearance form?

An online Clearance Form is required for all projects administered by REDI Business (or REDI Research), including contract research, consultancies, grants, etc. The clearance form can be accessed online. A WSU Office 365 account is required, using your staff email (StaffNumber@westernsydney.edu.au) and your password to log in. The purpose of the form is to present the Dean/Director with all important information before approving the project.

Tips to complete the clearance form:

  • Click the "+ New" at the top left to start a new form
  • Address all compulsory questions (indicated with a *), including project title, estimated % of research (100% is the default), project summary, your School/Institute/Centre, start and end dates, name of external organisation, project value (excluding GST component), details of project team members (Staff ID/name, employment status, FTE spend on project, share of income, above load payment), research details (activity type, field of research (FoR), socio-economic objective (SEO)), and ethics and biosafety considerations
  • Attach the budget spreadsheet and other relevant documents
  • Select a REDI Business Development team member as support person
  • Click the "SAVE AND SUBMIT" button at the bottom right to start the workflow
  • The "SAVE PROGRESS" button saves the information entered, but it does not start the workflow

The nominated Business Development person will review the clearance form and submit for Dean/Director's approval. The researcher will receive email notification once the clearance form has been approved.

11. What is the importance of research income?

REDI assesses all projects for their research component. Any certified research income is included in the Australian Government's Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC). Research income is allocated to one of four categories:

  1. Australian Competitive Grants: Income received from funding bodies for R&D schemes and programs registered on the Australian Competitive Grants Register (e.g. ARC, NHMRC)
  2. Other Public Sector Research Income: Income received from the Australian public sector that is not eligible for inclusion as Category 1 income
  3. Industry and Other Research Income: Income received from the private sector, philanthropic and international sources that are not eligible as Category 1 or Category 2 R&D income
  4. Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Research Income: Income from a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)

12. Will REDI Business projects be listed on the Researcher Portal?

Yes. The Researcher Portal provides access to information about WSU researchers, including: publication history, research and consultancy projects, ethics protocols and details of research activity. Projects set up by REDI Business will appear on the Researcher Portal (opens in a new window) subject to confidentiality considerations requested by the funding party.

13. What is the difference between contract research and consultancy?

There is often only a fine line between contract research and consultancy. Both contract research and consultancy involve an external organisation accessing the skills and expertise of University staff, University equipment or facilities to work on a specific project. The difference is that consultancies have no research component. Whether a project includes research is assessed by reference to an ARC definition relating to whether the project generates new knowledge:

Research is defined 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, inventions and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative. This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development (R&D) as comprising 'creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man [human-kind], culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applicationsARC Research Impact Principles and Framework (opens in a new window)

It is REDI's role to work with academics to make sure project documentation properly reflects any research that will be conducted. Most projects have some research component and are considered contract research.

By way of example as to strict consultancy projects, previous WSU projects have been with Government, industry and community partners in areas such as product and process testing and development, commissioned reports and peer review, expert witness statements, delivery of customised short training courses, and mathematical and computing modelling.

Key aspects of the various engagement models (research, contract research and consultancy) are summarised in the following table:

Pure Research Contract ResearchConsultancy
New knowledge
(100% Research)
Some research outcomes
(1-100% Research)
No new knowledge
(0% Research)
Researcher driven Shared project design Partner driven
Often unknown outcomes Defined deliverables Strict deliverables
Longer-term Duration varies Often short-term
Grant funded Priced at cost-recovery or above Professional service rates
Impact varies High impact Immediate application

14. What are retained research funds?

Retained funds are any funds remaining within a project, once all direct costs (salaries of contracted staff, above load salary payments, stipends, general expenses, etc.), salary on-costs and indirect costs are met. The salary of researchers covered by the operating budget, less recovery of any teaching backfill, forms part of the retained funds.

A well-priced project will have a balance of funds at the completion of the project that the researcher can access and invest in future research and research related activities. Retention of these funds provides an incentive for researchers to not only pursue contract research and consultancy but to ensure the appropriate pricing of his/her work. The availability of retained funds will allow the researcher to continue to invest in research activities that are not covered by external research income.

Retained funds can be used to pay for conferences, publication costs, research assistant employment, HDR support, pilot studies, small equipment costs, collaboration costs, proof of concept development, teaching relief in pursuit of a research project and other research related expenditure as approved by the Dean/Institute Director. All applications to expend retained funds must be approved by the School Dean/Institute Director. Retained funds should not be used for personal income or items of personal use, and support of teaching activities or related expenditure.

Retained funds should be spent by the end of the following year (31st December). For example, funds received during 2019 must be spent by 31 December 2020.

15. How does REDI Business assist with commercialisation, IP and confidentiality?

REDI Business is responsible for the management of Intellectual Property (IP) generated by University staff. This entails working closely with individual academics, schools, institutes and research centres, and the Office of General Counsel. The REDI Business team delivers professional services to protect and commercialise IP following an invention disclosure. The team also engages with the University community to deliver IP training and develop awareness of IP. In doing this, we encourage the commercial development of Intellectual Property for the benefit of the University, inventors and the wider community.

Easy Access IP (EAIP) is the preferred model for the commercialisation of IP at Western Sydney University. EAIP principles and tools serve as a mechanism to increase the breadth and depth of mutually-beneficial industry partnerships and more effective transfer of University knowledge for public benefit. The University's Intellectual Property Policy ensures that our researchers, schools and institutes also receive benefit from any commercial outcome which enables and encourages them to continue their innovative work.

Discussing potential projects often involves the disclosure of commercially sensitive information. A key role for REDI Business is to facilitate the setup of confidentiality agreements. This is a legally binding document that outlines confidential material, knowledge, trade secrets or non-public information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. These documents are signed by the Executive Director REDI for the University, as most University employees do not have delegation rights to sign legally binding documents.

16. What is FastLane?

In certain circumstances, REDI Business can make available a FastLane pack for smaller contract research and consulting projects. The FastLane pack consists of FastLane cover card, FastLane budget calculator and FastLane contract and allows researchers to self-administer the paperwork to expedite the project setup process. Once completed, the pack can be submitted to REDI Business for approval and signing.

17. Is there a 'how to' guide for successful projects?

Whilst all projects are different, early and effective communication is critical to address the issues and the success of any project. This flow chart (PDF, 25.36 KB) (opens in a new window) aims to provide a succinct summary of the various steps involved:

Q17

18. Is there an industry partnership tip sheet?

The diagram (PDF, 111.54 KB) (opens in a new window) below provides handy tips for researchers on how to partner with industry.

Q18

19. What is a research canvas?

The Research Canvas (DOCX, 41.71 KB) (opens in a new window) can be used to communicate "who, what, why, when, how and the benefits" of projects. The tool is an aid to help ensure clear thinking, identification, needs and rationale for research.