Made for scientists, engineers & innovators
 

FAQ

1. GENERAL
2.
REGISTRATION
3.
REQUESTING AND OFFERING
4.
FEE, PAYMENT AND BILLING
5.
TRUST AND SAFETY
6. ‘HOW TO’ GUIDES
- Coming soon-

 
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 1. GENERAL

What does Clustermarket do?

Clustermarket is an online sharing platform for scientific equipment and technical services that aims to make research more affordable and scientists’ lives easier. The platform consists of an online marketplace with an integrated booking system for scientists to list, discover and request resources on demand. These resources can be shared within a lab, an institution or offered to external counterparties.

What is the difference between the marketplace and the booking system and what are internal and external activities

Within the marketplace scientists can share equipment and services with external companies and other scientists to increase commercial exposure. These activities are external and not limited to a specific industry or location.
Additionally, every Clustermarket user can use the booking system to manage all internal activities which include equipment bookings from colleagues or students.

What is the difference between equipment and services?

Equipment can be offered and booked against a fee clearly displayed on Clustermarket. Additionally, the customer’s visit to the provider’s lab can be combined with services such as training, a health and safety induction or even technical guidance, all of which can also be offered and booked via the platform.

Is the request complex?

You can generate an individual quote on the platform. The provider can also take care of the entire experiment and send the results back to the customer (more details under “requesting and offering”).

Why use Clustermarket?

1) You need scientific resources
Clustermarket provides access to state of the art equipment and high-quality services.

2) You want to save time and money
By using Clustermarket, you can save time, maintenance costs and high-capital expenses. As a startup, Clustermarket helps bridge the valley of death, while more established businesses have the opportunity to spend their R&D budget more efficiently.

3) You want an additional source of income
Renting out equipment or offering services via Clustermarket gives you an additional source of income, as well as proof that your machines are used efficiently for grant applications. As a lab manager, Clustermarket allows you to manage the equipment within your lab in terms of scheduling, availability, access rights and billing. Usage reports help you to stay informed and up to date.

4) You want increased visibility in your network
Clustermarket helps increase your research impact by allowing you to collaborate with innovative companies and academics.

5) You want legal and financial security
In addition to a general legal framework, contracts can be managed easily and payments are handled by Clustermarket to ensure a safe and streamlined process with minimal admin.

I do not want to provide equipment access or services to external customers. Is Clustermarket still for me?

How you use Clustermarket, whether internally and/or externally, is up to you. Check out the new lab management system Bookkit which is connected to the Clustermarket marketplace.

Can I provide and request equipment/services with the same account?

Yes, absolutely!

What are the costs of joining Clustermarket?

Registering on Clustermarket is completely free with no hidden fees. There are also no fees for offering or requesting equipment and services. Clustermarket only charges the customer a small commission fee when going into an agreement with an external provider for running the platform. For academics, all internal activities are also free of charge.

Does Clustermarket provide “demo” accounts to explore and test the platform?

Clustermarket is happy to set up a “demo” account for you. We can also visit your organisation to personally talk through how Clustermarket can benefit your company or university. Please contact info@clustemarket.com and we will be in touch shortly.

 
 

2. REGISTRATION

Who is Clustermarket for? Can I also register as a private individual?

Clustermarket is for a diverse range of institutions and companies in science and engineering, from small start-ups and spin-outs to established institutions such as universities and big pharma.

Private individuals are not permitted to register on Clustermarket and must register as an employee or owner of a company/charity/government institution.

How do I register on Clustermarket correctly?

Clustermarket offers different accounts with varying functions and responsibilities to suit the type and size of your organisation. Please consult Figure 1 for a clearer breakdown of the distinctions between these accounts.

If you are unsure how to implement Clustermarket within your organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing info@clustermarket.com.

Clustermarket gives companies and universities the possibility to manage unlimited laboratories/facilities and unlimited laboratory/facility members/users.

The following account levels are available:

Level 1 - Organisation Account:
● For example, a university’s consultancy/innovation department which deals with commercial activities can register an Organisation Account. This makes it easy for them to support and provide legal contracts to Level 2 accounts (Facilities/Labs).
● Alternatively, if the Head of School/Division/Institute registers as Organisation Admin, they can oversee all of his departments/facilities.
● For companies this could be someone in a leading position who oversees one or several labs.
● Whether you’re providing resources or seeking resources; have one employee or 1000 employees, everyone has to register an Organisation Account.

Level 2 - Laboratory Account:
A Lab or Facility Manager can register as a Laboratory Account. In the Sign Up process you need to select your organisation to set up a Lab Account for your organisation.

Level 3 - Lab Member
Researcher, Technician, Student Accounts can be invited by Level 1 + 2 accounts. There is no limit on how many you can invite to your organisation or laboratory. Level 1 + 2 accounts can activate, deactivate and limit access of Level 3 accounts.

Do I need Laboratory Accounts to invite and manage lab users or to upload and manage resources?

No, an Organisation Account has all the necessary functions and can manage one lab independently without relying on a Level 2 account.

Does Clustermarket assist with setting up the account(s)?

Yes, Clustermarket can advise you on how to set up accounts within your organisation/facility and Clustermarket is happy to share its past experiences with setting up other organisations.

Why haven’t I received any emails?

Sometimes automated emails can end up in your spam folder, so please check your spam folder first. If you still can’t find them, please send us an email at info@clustermarket.com to make sure that you will receive them in future.

I forgot my password, how can I reset it?

Below the two login fields at https://app.clustermarket.com/login, you can click on “Forgot Password?”. Then please follow the instructions on the website.

 
 

3. REQUESTING AND OFFERING

Two different organisations share equipment on the marketplace - How does it work?

1. Both the provider and customer must register on Clustermarket.
2. The provider fills out all mandatory fields and uploads the equipment.
3. The customer searches for the equipment by using keywords.
4. The customer chooses the booking dates/time and requests the equipment.
5. Unless specified differently for the equipment, the provider pre-approves the customer’s request. If applicable, the provider suggests new booking times and shares the terms that must be accepted by the customer.
6. The customer accepts the provider’s terms (if applicable) and pays Clustermarket for the booking either via card or via invoicing.
7. Clustermarket automatically raises a purchase order (PO).
8. The customer accesses the equipment (with training and/or health and safety induction if applicable).
9. Clustermarket transfers the full amount to the provider.
10. Both parties review each other.

Two different organisations come to a service agreement on the marketplace - how does it work?

1. Both the provider and customer must register on Clustermarket.
2. The provider fills out all mandatory fields and uploads the service.
3. The customer searches for the service using keywords.
4. The customer requests a quote for the service.
5. The provider creates a quote on Clustermarket based on the request and discussions with the customer. If applicable, the provider shares the terms that must be accepted by the customer.
6. The customer accepts the terms (if applicable) and pays Clustermarket for the service either via card or invoicing.
7. Clustermarket automatically raises a purchase order (PO).
8. The provider completes the service.
9. Clustermarket transfers the full amount to the provider.
10. Both parties review each other.

Bookings within your lab and in other labs of your organisation - how does it work?

Depending on the requester’s access rights, an approval of the booking may be required.

Can I charge different rates for different customers?

Yes, for equipment rentals you can charge three different rates (industry, academia and internal). The pricing for services will be determined after the customer requests the service.

Can I share equipment that is fully or partially financed by public money or other external sources?

In principle any research equipment can be shared on Clustermarket; however, it is recommended to check with the responsible funding source and understand its policies. While this seems less of an issue in the United Kingdom, the situation in other countries can be different.

Clustermarket is currently doing its best to find political and legal solutions to make sharing possible for all pieces of equipment regardless of the funding source. If you have any further questions regarding this topic, please contact info@clustermarket.com.

I need to use specialised equipment, but I don’t know how to operate it. What can I do?

This is a common challenge and providers can offer training and technical support along with their equipment as add-ons. You can see the optional and mandatory add-ons before you make a request. Alternatively, you can also request a full service.

Can providers and customers communicate directly with each other?

Yes, Clustermarket provides a messaging system that can be used by participants to communicate directly with each other, so as to discuss the requirements of a service for instance. Direct messages between provider and customer on Clustermarket also help to prevent potential disputes.

What is the dashboard?

Your dashboard gives you an overview of all your activities. Either across all laboratories as an Organisation Admin or only for a single laboratory as a Laboratory Admin. You will find a calendar displaying all bookings of your lab colleagues and guest. This is also where you book your lab equipment.

What do I find under “Collaboration”?

Here you can access the “Contract(s)” tool, which allows organisation and department/lab admins to upload any contracts that are required when renting out equipment or offering services. You also have access to “Projects” where equipment and services can be added to research projects.

Does Clustermarket provide a rental agreement?

Although a standardised rental agreement is provided, some providers may require customised agreements tailored to their needs. Therefore, providers can upload additional contracts under “Contract management” that must be accepted by the customer before making a payment.

What happens if an equipment has been damaged?

Often the equipment is covered by your current insurance provider after the customer receives training and a safety induction. If you aren’t covered and only occasionally plan to share equipment, Clustermarket can negotiate with multiple insurance companies to find an adequate solution for you. To get advice please contact info@clustermarket.com.

In the unlikely event your equipment has been damaged please contact us immediately at info@clustermarket.com so the team can help you.

What if the customer does not show up on time or at all?

It is the customer’s responsibility to make it to your facility on time. If the customer arrives late, the equipment must remain booked for the rest of the agreed time frame. You will receive the full rental fee, whether the equipment is used for the full time or not.

What happens if the equipment is not the one I have requested or is not capable of performing as described on Clustermarket?

If you experience any difficulties in terms of performance or notice that the equipment does not match the description on Clustermarket, please immediately inform the team at info@clustermarket.com to get advice and the chance of a full or partial refund.

 
 

4. FEE, PAYMENT AND BILLING

Who must pay the service fee and how much is it?

Clustermarket charges the customer a small service fee (up to 10%) based on the overall transaction amount (excluding VAT), which is always disclosed in the invoice.  This fee applies solely to transactions between two different organisations. Any activity within your organisation is free of charge.

The fee is used for maintenance and further development of the platform, handling the payment processing and general customer service.

Fee structure:
Transaction value Clustermarket fee
£0 - £999 10.00%
£1,000 - £4,999 5.00%
£5,000 - £9,999 2.50%
> £10,000 2.00%

When do I have to pay (only for external activities)?

When you receive a provider’s pre-approval or quote, you will be asked to agree to the terms and conditions and make a payment either via the secure payment gateway or bank transfer. You are never obliged to pay when you make an initial request unless it is an “instant booking” and no pre-approval from the provider is needed.

Why must the payment be handled by Clustermarket (only for external activities)?

Clustermarket wants to make sure the payment is secure and arrives on time without any delays as a result of possible administrative procedures. Please be aware that the payment must be transferred via Clustermarket, otherwise, neither the payment nor any potential refunds can be guaranteed.

What payment methods does Clustermarket accept (only for external activities)?

Via the secure payment gateway, you will be able to pay by debit or credit card. Clustermarket also accepts payments via traditional invoicing (bank transfer). You will find Clustermarket’s bank and account details when you receive the quote, pre-approval from the provider and/or on the invoice.

How does the payment process work, is it secure (just for transactions between two different organisations)?

The customer pays Clustermarket the full price plus a small service fee in advance (if the renting period is longer than 30 days, you pay the rental price plus a small service fee for 30 days in advance). Clustermarket will hold on to the money until the end of the sharing process or the service has been completed. Then the money will be released to the provider.

As a result, the provider is guaranteed to receive the payment on time and the customer can be certain of the equipment or service’s performance.

Do I have to raise a purchase order (PO) for the provider?

Clustermarket automatically raises a PO for the provider when you make a payment. The PO is based on the quote that the provider created on Clustermarket.

Where can I find the PO?

The PO can be downloaded by the provider as a PDF under “Received Bookings” and “Received Orders” (sidebar) in the “Action” column or at the bottom of each “Received Bookings” and “Received Orders” detail page.

I want to cancel my upcoming booking. Do I still have to pay as a customer?

Once you have paid, Clustermarket’s service fee is no longer refundable. You might be eligible for a full or partial refund of the rental fee depending on the provider’s cancellation policy and time left until the start of your booking.

I want to cancel an upcoming booking as a provider. What will happen next?

If you have to cancel an upcoming booking, you may receive a permanent review by Clustermarket stating that you have cancelled an upcoming booking. You have the right to comment on the review and explain the reason for the cancellation. For the cancelled booking time, you will not be able to receive any new bookings.

 
 

 5. TRUST AND SAFETY

Do you perform background checks?

Unless you received an invitation from a registered organisation or laboratory, Clustermarket will activate every account after a successful registration as a safety measure for the whole community. The activation procedure might include a phone call, questions about the institution or company and a copy of official documents.

How can I trust the institution/person that wants to use my assets?

You will be able to communicate directly with the other party. Clustermarket also uses a review and testimonial system that builds trust within the community. The platform participants must review each other after each completed agreement, and the participants’ previous reviews are clearly visible on the platform.

How does Clustermarket ensure my privacy and security?

Clustermarket protects your information and is GDPR compliant. Please check www.clustermarket.com/privacy, www.clustermarket.com/terms and www.clustermarket.com/cookies for further information.

Am I guaranteed IP protection and confidentiality when working with labs on Clustermarket?

By agreeing to Clustermarket’s general terms, all participants take a legal pledge to guarantee IP protection and confidentiality. For further information please check www.clustermarket.com/terms.