Our 20 year anniversary is here!

Lyn LaveryWe’re very excited to announce that Academic Consulting is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Academic Consulting’s origins were a simple home office in my Ellerslie flat. The name Academic Consulting was only meant to be temporary – when I went to the bank to open my first business account, they sensibly asked what the company name was. I foolishly hadn’t put any thought into it at all, and after a rather long silence I blurted out “Academic Consulting” (which seemed to capture my plans pretty well). When I tried to change the name years later, our clients had become quite attached to it and they refused to let me!

Over the last 20 years, we’ve employed over 30 amazing staff, all of whom had the special skill set it takes to work at Academic Consulting (hint – it helps to have an obsessive passion for punctuation and a love of huge data sets!). They’ve all helped make the company what it is today, as have our wonderful clients who come from a range of disciplines, backgrounds and sectors. We consider our clients to be part of the Academic Consulting family, and in fact, some of our clients have been with us since the very beginning.

Our services have evolved somewhat over the last 20 years, as of course has the research landscape. While my original plan was to only offer training and consultancy, over the years we’ve added proofreading and document formatting, qualitative/quantitative analysis and report writing to our range of services. NVivo and SPSS training courses have been core business for us throughout, but our training portfolio has widened to include research and data analysis methods, as well as writing skills. While our initial courses were all face-to-face, around half of our training courses our now offered online, which means our client base now extends well beyond New Zealand.

I’m often asked what gave me the idea to set up a company like Academic Consulting. While I jokingly blame a moment of insanity, the truth is that I always wanted to run my own business and I saw a definite gap in the market. At the time, both Andrew and I were academic staff at University of Auckland, and were regularly approached by other universities who needed courses and support in the areas we specialised in. Offering a service that could operate across tertiary institutes as well as corporate and government organisations seemed a sensible next step, and things somewhat grew from there. It hasn’t always been easy – contracting in the tertiary sector can be difficult to navigate and running a business brings its own challenges. Despite it all, I’ve loved every minute and am incredibly grateful for the amazing colleagues and clients I’ve met along the way, as well as the fascinating research projects that we’ve been privileged to be involved in. I look forward to continuing to work with you all in the future – as the research landscape continues to evolve, the road ahead looks to be an exciting one, and we’d love for you to continue on the journey with us.

Postscript (September, 2021): We're now coming up to our 22nd birthday. If you're curious about the "new product" in the above roadmap, it was our new Research Accelerator programme. The idea behind Research Accelerator was to offer a budget-friendly and time-efficient option for researchers to access the training and support they need. While a major focus of Research Accelerator is the video material we've created, both our annual virtual event and membership also have live sessions to allow researchers to connect with each other. We've loved connecting with researchers from around the world with Research Accelerator and we're looking forward to developing this further - we hope you'll continue on the journey with us!