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4. Collaboration agreements with industry and other institutions

4.1 Types of collaboration

As a researcher you may become involved in many different types of collaboration. Based on the contents and conditions for the relationship, collaborations can be categorised under three main headings:

  1. Unrestricted grants.  In connection with this type of collaboration,the funder will typically select an area/topic to fund, but as a rule, no conditions are imposed on the grant.
  2. Commissioned research/income-generating activities. In this type of collaboration, a consultancy service is provided. This means that all rights belong to the external party, and special rules apply (with regard to income-generating activities) for the calculation of the grant based on market prices, as all costs, direct as well as indirect, must be covered.
  3. Subsidised research. In this type of collaboration, the university may co-finance the projects, provided that the project has documented research interest for the researchers involved. According to the guide to external funding 2013 (Instruks Eksterne Midler 2013), the head of department is responsible for ensuring that a genuine research interest is present. In this type of collaboration, both parties contribute in different ways, and a formal agreement must be concluded in regard to the parties’ rights to the results of the project.

In regard to all types of collaboration, it is important that the parties' rights and obligations are clear. For this reason, it is necessary that a written agreement be concluded for each collaboration describing the parties’ contributions, division of responsibilities and rights.

Particular in collaborations with industry and special interest organisations and the like, it is necessary to draft a written collaboration agreement that lays down the parties’ responsibilities, rights and obligations in the project, including which party was responsible for initiating the project, who developed the protocol and who has responsibility for collecting material and data, interpreting data, ownership of data, drafting of the manuscript and presentation of results to the public. In this way, a cooperation agreement aids in the harmonisation of the parties’ mutual expectations and must also contribute to guaranteeing freedom of research. The agreement must contain a description of how the project is to be financed in addition to a roadmap for the publication of the results. Finally, it must be stated that the parties agree to comply with Aarhus University’s guidelines for responsible conduct of research.

All research projects that rely on external funding in Central Denmark Region must comply with the rules in the FAS regulations (in Danish only) regarding externally financed projects in Central Denmark Region, including rules regarding accounts and personnel.

TTO can provide more information, advice and guidance. Aarhus University has general guidelines for collaboration agreements (generelle retningslinjer for samarbejdsaftaler, PDF in Danish only).  Correspondingly, the university hospitals have adopted a set of joint guidelines (in Danish only) for cooperation agreements.

4.2 Regulatory requirements in regard to collaboration with companies

The Danish health act (sundhedsloven) lays down so-called ‘association rules’, that require public sector healthcare professional who conduct research or consultancy for pharmaceutical or biotech companies to report these associations, regardless of whether they receive remuneration for the work.

Consultancy work performed by the healthcare professional on a private basis and in a privately owned company are also covered by the rules of association.

The healthcare professional must personally

  • Report the activity, or
  • Apply for authorisation for the activity from the Danish Medicines Agency, depending on the nature of the collaboration.

The association rules will continue to be supplemented by applicable rules on marketing.

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