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Collaborate with researchers

At KTH, your company or organisation can develop its knowledge base and benefit from the accessible research and innovative environment offered at KTH, by making use of collaborative research outputs, research centres and contract research opportunities.

How research collaboration with KTH works

KTH welcomes research collaboration that lifts both our own scientific work and teaching at KTH as well as increases the dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of society.

Collaborative research between KTH and the private sector, or other members of society, is limited by certain requirements in order to meet the expectations of a publically-funded university. Within the parameters described, we are happy to discuss how the collaboration can be structured to enable the best possible benefits for both parties.

For the university to enter into research collaborations, certain requirements must be met: the collaboration must have scientific value and be in line with the general role of the university; the collaboration must be characterised by quality, transparency and clarity; and it must comply with all applicable laws, guidelines and ethical principles at KTH. It is important for KTH to ensure such partnerships do not infringe on market competition, public confidence in the University, or restrict the University's scope to pursue further research and education. All collaborations must be subject to written agreements.

Two forms of research collaborations

There are two possible forms of collaboration within research: contract research and collaborative research. As the legal foundation is different for each type of research, it is important to discuss the intentions of the parties to know which which form is appropriate.

Contract research versus collaborative research

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Contract Research

Collaborative Research

Type of project

The commissioning party “owns” the research subject.

The research subject is formulated by the parties jointly.

Financing

The commissioning party is responsible for the full project costs according to the principle of full costs coverage.

All parties involved are to contribute. Payments can be made to the university, but in which case, as financial contributions.

Publication

The university reserves the right to publish the results.

The university reserves the right to publish any results that university personnel have been involved in producing.

Rights

The agreement can grant the commissioning party ownership of or far-reaching users’ rights to the results. The university reserves the right to use the results as part of its own continuing academic activities (research and education).

Ownership of results generated by the university reside with the researcher. Any transfer or licensing from the researcher is subject to remuneration based on market value.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality in accordance with the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act 31 chap. 12 §

Confidentiality in accordance with the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act 24 chap. 5 §

Contract research

Contract research means the university performs research on behalf of another party. The university charges a fee for the assignment that covers the university’s full costs for the project in full – “full cost coverage”. There are no formal obstacles to the commissioning party taking ownership of the results, and in certain cases, users’ rights are sufficient. Ultimately, the commissioning party and the researcher performing the work come to an agreement regarding the intellectual property and tangible results of the project. These rights shall be regulated in the contract research agreement that is signed between the party and university before work is started.

Contract research should benefit the university, which as a rule, means that the results should be able to be published and presented in academic contexts and be to the benefit of continuing research and education. Confidentiality of the project is always taken into consideration and there are clear procedures and regulations to protect the the commissioning party’s interests prior to publication. Accordingly, the university delays the dissemination of results until the commissioning party has been notified and given the opportunity to postpone dissemination for a reasonable time, usually 90 days from the date the party was notified, so that the party can apply for intellectual property rights protection, such as patents. The procedure for this should be described in the contract research agreement. As a public entity, KTH is limited by certain public disclosure laws and regulations; for further information regarding KTH's limitations regarding preserving confidentiality, please see the section on Confidentiality below.

KTH performs its research assignments with the due diligence expected from a leading research organisation. As research by its very nature is an experimental enterprise, the University is unable to warrant that certain research findings will be achieved, the commercial usability of such, or that development results do not infringe on existing intellectual property rights.

Collaborative research

Collaborative research means that the university pursues research with one or several other parties, such as private companies, other universities, and/or institutes. Within this partnership, the parties contribute resources in the form of financial funds, materials, existing knowledge, and/or other relevant resouces. As collaborative research does not entail full cost coverage for the University, such cooperation may not result in the collaborative partners obtaining the rights to either background knowledge or the results that have been generated at the university. Parties who wish to obtain that knowledge must pay market-value renumeration to obtain it. 

As a public entity, the University is subject to EU state aid rules. These regulations limit the sharing of research-based IP outside of the market and improper receipt of such rights can be considered illegal use of state aid, which can result in a repayment liability for the collaborative party for the value of the information received.

Collaborative research involving the University is intended to benefit the research community generally and the University specifically; the University therefore always reserves the right to publish the results as well as use the results in continuing research and education. This also applies when a collaborative party takes over a project or otherwise utilizes the results that were originally produced at the University.

It is, however, important to KTH that in disseminating any results that the confidentiality requirements of the collaborative parties are observed such that the results of all parties can be protected in advance of publication. Accordingly, the University accepts that dissemination will not be made until the collaborative parties have been notified and, if necessary, been given the opportunity to postpone dissemination for a reasonable time, usually 90 days from the date the party was notified, such that the party can apply for intellectual property rights protection, such as patents. The procedure for this should be described in the Collaborative Research Agreement. As a public entity, the University is limited by certain public disclosure laws and regulations; for further information regarding the university's limitations regarding confidentiality, please see the section on Confidentiality below.

Please note that the University is not authorised to sign agreements that allow unlimited damage claims against the State and collaborative research agreements must therefore contain reasonable limits on liability.