Outside Employment and Consulting Agreements

UT encourages faculty and professional staff to participate in outside activities with commercial and other entities that contribute to their profession and to the community. Engagement with outside entities through consulting and other relationships creates an important bridge between academia and the community to foster understanding of current and future research directions and priorities within the private sector.

Consulting and other outside employment is considered a private activity. Consultants should have an agreement in place that clearly defines the technical scope, intellectual property commitments, and financial terms of the activity. This is a personal agreement between the consultant and the outside entity. UT is not a party to any such agreement.

Consulting agreements may include terms and conditions that conflict with university obligations and policies, which could create problems for future research and employment obligations. Review the UT Consulting Agreement Guide to identify common contact terms to be aware of.

It is the consultant’s responsibility to ensure the agreement is consistent with their university employment obligations and university policy. RSC’s COI team can assess whether a consulting agreement is consistent with university obligations. Any other questions about consulting contracts should be directed to a personal attorney for legal advice.

UT provides a Consulting Agreement Addendum as a service to university personnel. This addendum was created to protect university employees from entering contracts that may jeopardize their ability to fulfill their obligations to the university. The addendum is not required, however, you risk entering into a legally binding agreement that has not been reviewed by an attorney who is familiar with UT policies and employee obligations.

Frequently Asked Questions

HOP 5-2011 limits faculty and professional staff to 8 hours per week or 32 hours per month of outside activities while employed full time by the university. Prior approval from the Office of Research Support and Compliance COI program is required before committing to outside activities. Request prior approval in the UTRMS-COI system.

Prior approval from the Office of Research Support and Compliance COI program is required before committing to outside activities. Request prior approval in the UTRMS-COI system.

  • Expected time commitment – The time commitment expected by the outside entity may go beyond the time allowed by the university for outside activities. The consulting expectations may also infringe on time commitments to federal research sponsors.
  • Intellectual property – Frequently, agreements with commercial entities will address intellectual property ownership. It is important to be aware that any IP developed using the expertise for which you have been employed by the university or through use of university facilities and resources is owned by the UT System Board of Regents. It is also important to consider how IP clauses may impact your or your student’s ability to conduct future research.
  • Authorship affiliation – Since UT is your primary employer, it is expected that your primary affiliation on any publications related to your scope of work (area of expertise) identify UT Austin as your primary affiliation. Some outside employment contracts may stipulate that you identify the other institution as your primary affiliation.
  • Use of university resources – Use of university resources, name, and trainees for anything other than university business is not allowed.
  • Disclosure to funding agencies – You may be required to disclose the outside activity to federal funding agencies on a biographical sketch or as current and pending support. It is important to be familiar with the reporting requirements of your research sponsors.
  • See the Consulting Agreement Guide for additional information.
  • Questions about outside activities and university policies related to outside activities should be directed to COI@austin.utexas.edu
  • The university does not provide legal advice for private employment agreements. The COI team can help assess whether an agreement includes clauses that may conflict with university policy. You may reach out to COI@austin.utexas.edu for assistance.
  • Questions about whether intellectual property is owned by the university may be directed to licensing@austin.utexas.edu.

Consulting agreements are generally very negotiable. You should carefully review the agreement and consult with your own attorney as needed, particularly related to issues such as tax implications, stock or equity ownership, and non-compete clauses. When you are consulting, you are not considered a University of Texas employee for such services. The university will not indemnify you or provide legal defense for any reason related to your outside employment.

See more below...