The questions at the end of this saga will be "Am I missing something????" and/or "Am I imposing order in the service of nothing?"
My PI's research is overseas, shall we say. A PI at another university also works in that country, with similar expertise. The "other" PI wants to hire my guy to help her with research design for an interesting medium-scale project (but in this country, in this disciplinary area, this will feel like a large project. ) For this effort, my guy deeply wants a course release rather than summertime extra compensation. And, besides, the work needs to happen starting in just a few weeks. So, the academic year is a reasonable project period. The "other" PI wants to use her start-up to pay him.
My thinking is that the start-up being the source is a red herring. The money is coming from that university (a domestic university, but that's probably irrelevant) and the work needs to be governed by a research agreement. Or some agreement, anyway - I'm flexible there. But more than a purchase-order sort of thing, is what I'm saying. SOMETHING has to define the scope of the work, outline the timeline and the deliverables.... I've got to protect my PI, right, even though I'm sure everyone has the best will in the world? My-guy could take the payment as independent consulting if he's not using university resources for the work, but then he has to pay for his own course release AND the IRS will treat that amount of money as taxable - even though in a real way he never saw it.
I have gotten SUCH intense push-back not from the other Office of Sponsored Programs but from their PI that I'm second-guessing myself. Someone pull me out of this rabbit hole, please. I reached out to their OSP but haven't heard back yet.
Am I missing something? Am I imposing order in the service of nothing? (which clearly I do not want to do.)
I thought I had all of the odd situations...
I would agree with you that some sort of agreement is in order with the other institution. Depending upon what type of agreements they use and accept, maybe it could be some sort of contract for services, with the details of the work to be done included. We've also done MOAs at times, although that would typically not be my first choice, and I know that some institutions do not want to do this type of work under an MOA.
I wish I could be more help. But I would also want some sort of agreement.
I would agree that some sort of agreement is needed. Stick with trying to work with their OSP... the PI there seems to be wanting to skirt around regulations.
Listen to your gut. An agreement should govern the relationship. It could be a simple MOU, but there should be something in writing governing the flow of money and it should be between the Universities if it is being used for course release. My institution does not allow a faculty member to privately buy our course releases. You want to ensure the publication rights are protected which can be lost in a private "work for hire" agreement. You are attempting to protect the PI-it is a good thing!Kris
I echo what has been said previously. My institution is agreement-happy and there are few collaborations that don't have a legal document governing them. If it were me, my concern would lie with the PI of the other institution pushing back so hard. It does seem like they are trying to skirt regulations / protections in the guise of 'easy', also it's not their decision ultimately (my experience in the US, maybe this country's rules are different). It can be very telling when a prime PI starts making these kinds of demands and I would worry about the wellbeing of my PI's collaboration.
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