Useful information

...on external funding

Appointments using external funding – including working hour standards

  • Appointments using external funding

    • Appointments using external funding

      Staff employed using external funding must adhere to the general pay and remuneration regulations for government staff. It is not possible to use any collective agreements or forms of employment other than those permitted for ordinary funding or under the job structure rules. This applies to both Danish and foreign nationals, and regardless of what the funder may wish, require, presuppose or accept. If there is any uncertainty regarding the salary and employment regulations, including pension, holiday pay etc., AU HR, Payroll or Payroll staff working at the faculty should be contacted in advance, though special terms and conditions apply to EU's Marie Curie projects.

      The Consolidation Act on Fixed-Term Employment (Lov om tidsbegrænset ansættelse) regulates situations in which a member of staff can be employed on a fixed-term contract (remember HR when employing foreign nationals) as well as situations in which fixed-term employment may become permanent employment.

      Announcement of the Consolidation Act on Fixed-Term Employment (Lov om tidsbegrænset ansættelse) https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=121276 (in Danish)

      In general, please see HR's website concerning the recruitment and appointment of new employees.

  • Working hour standards

    • Working hour standards

      The standard number of working hours for full-time employees at AU is 1,924 per year.

      However, in connection with external projects, the following applies:

    • 1,460 is the basic number of working hours used when all time registration in connection with the external project takes place in ProMark

    • 1,485 is the number of working hours used in connection with settlement of accounts for H2020 projects when time registration takes place in ProMark and spreadsheets

    • 1,580 (alternatively 1,485) is the number of working hours used in connection with settlement of accounts for other projects when time registration in spreadsheets is required.

      For a number of external projects, other specific working hour standards may be laid down in the contract.

      The difference is that the number 1,924 covers productive as well as non-productive hours e.g. holiday, whereas the number 1,460/1,485/1,580 only covers productive hours.


Inventions, publication, confidentiality, intellectual property rights and public access

When universities and companies collaborate on research, it is important to be aware that public and private players are subject to different conditions.

For example, universities are subject to special requirements regarding public access to information and requirements regarding management of public funding – requirements that do not apply to the business community.

Indirectly, these rules also have an impact on the agreements that public research institutions may enter into with the private sector.

For example, such agreements must comply with the rules applying to publication of research results, and intellectual property rights may not be transferred on terms that distort competition.

The following are overall answers to the questions:

  • Who has the right to the inventions when public-sector research institutions and private companies collaborate on research?

    • Who has the right to the inventions when public-sector research institutions and private companies collaborate on research?

      The legislation states that both private companies and public research institutions can take over the rights linked to the inventions made by their own employees as part of their work.

      The private companies' rights are pursuant to the Danish Act on Employees' Inventions (Lov om arbejdstageres opfindelser (in Danish)), whilst public-sector research institutions' rights are pursuant to the Danish Act on Inventions at Public Research Institutions (Lov om opfindelser ved offentlige forskningsinstitutioner (in Danish)).

      When research institutions collaborate with private companies, ownership of the inventions from the common project will as a general rule accrue to the party whose employees made the invention.

      If the company wants ownership rights to or right of use of the inventions the institution makes during the project, the company must acquire the rights by agreement with the institution (commissioned research or income-generating activities).

      Depending on the circumstances, this may be an agreement whereby the company gains ownership of the project's inventions, or exploitation rights to the institution’s inventions on specifically agreed terms.

      If neither the company nor the institution elects to assume the right to the invention, then the inventor, i.e. the employee, will hold the rights to it.

      It is thus Aarhus University and not the employees themselves that has the authorisation to enter into an agreement on the rights associated with the invention. Aarhus University should in any case ensure that the distribution of rights is clearly specified in the agreement, to avoid any subsequent uncertainty in this respect.

      A particular question is who holds the rights when students are part of a joint research project.

      There are different sets of rules for PhD students, industrial PhD students and ordinary students.

      PhD students are usually employed by the public research institution. When this is the case, the research institution is entitled to have the rights to the PhD student’s inventions transferred – this is pursuant to the Act on Inventions at Public Research Institutions (Lov om opfindelser ved offentlige forskningsinstitutioner (in Danish)).

      This at the same time means that the research institution can enter into agreements with private companies on transfer of the right to the inventions created by the PhD student as part of the PhD project.

      For industrial PhD students, the special situation applies that they are enrolled at a university but employed by a company. This means that the company – and not the university – may lay claim to the right to the industrial PhD student’s inventions. This is pursuant to the Act on Employees' Inventions (Lov om arbejdstageres opfindelser) (in Danish).

      Ordinary students are not subject to any conditions of employment. This means that such students themselves have all rights to their own results. If students are involved in research projects, it is thus necessary for the private company and the student involved in the project to enter into a separate agreement with the persons in question regarding the right to any inventions.

      When public-sector research institutions and private companies enter into agreements on joint research projects, the issue of payment of patenting fees is an integrated part. If patent rights are being sought for an invention, the starting point is that the party whose employees have made the invention must pay the patenting fees.

      When selling services – including research services – to private companies, public-sector research institutions are obliged to endeavour to cover their costs.

      The institutions will thus usually require that the company must pay or reimburse the institution's patenting fees if it obtains the right to exploit the institution's inventions.

      Aarhus University has drawn up a set of rules on remuneration for inventions at Aarhus University. The External Cooperation Committee at Aarhus University has also prepared a letter regarding the Act on Inventions at Public Research Institutions.

  • What requirements apply in relation to publication of the research results?

    • What requirements apply in relation to publication of the research results?

      Pursuant to the University Act, public research institutions are obliged to publish results of research which is wholly or partially financed by public funds.

      In collaborative projects with private companies, publication of research results can, however, destroy patenting opportunities. Publication of research results can thus be temporarily delayed, to make sure a patent application can be submitted, but this must be agreed in advance in the cooperation agreement. Unless otherwise agreed, the publication cannot be postponed for more than two months from the time when the researchers notify the research institution of their invention.

      In cases where the company buys a research service on market terms against payment of the institution's full costs (commissioned research or income-generating activities), it can be agreed in advance whether the results must be published, and if so, when.

      PhD dissertations in particular must be published and defended in public no later than three months after submission by the PhD student. In this area, the university can also postpone the PhD defence if this is necessary because of submission of a patent application, but this requires a mutual agreement between the university and the PhD student.

      As regards the university’s possibility of making an employee postpone publication of an invention in the interests of protecting intellectual property rights, please see the Danish Act on Inventions at Public Research Institutions (in Danish) (Lov om opfindelser ved offentlige forskningsinstitutioner)

      In specific situations, it may be necessary under the Danish Public Administration Act (in Danish) (Forvaltningsloven) and the Danish Marketing Practices Act (in Danish) (Markedsføringsloven) to exclude any confidential information the collaborating partner does not want published.

      Such an exclusion does not give the collaborating partner the right to prevent publication of research results or influence the conclusions that may be drawn from the research. Moreover, with regard to the issue of requests for access to research results, please see the rules set out in the Danish Access to Public Administration Files Act (in Danish) (Offentlighedsloven).

      No fixed rules have been laid down regarding the exact time of publication, and the time will depend on the specific situation, in particular concerning protection of intellectual property rights. It is clear, however, that publication must always take place within a reasonable time from the time when the final or publishable research results become available.

      If the research is being conducted as income-generating activities, it may be determined, in connection with the conclusion of the agreement, that the research results will not be published.

      The university should ensure that the issue of the right to publication is regulated in the cooperation agreement in accordance with the above guidelines.

  • What demands can be made regarding confidentiality in connection with collaborations between public research institutions and private companies?

    • What demands can be made regarding confidentiality in connection with collaborations between public research institutions and private companies?

      When public research institutions and private companies collaborate on research there may be a need for confidentiality regarding parts of the project.

      Regardless of the fact that public research institutions are, as standard, covered by the requirement for access to public administration files (right of access to documents), private companies can to a large extent ensure confidentiality in relation to the knowledge and information the private company brings into the collaboration with a public research institution. This can be the case if it is assessed that this knowledge and information constitute trade secrets.

  • Who in public research institutions may enter into agreements on intellectual property rights with private companies?

    • Who in public research institutions may enter into agreements on intellectual property rights with private companies?

      The research institution's management – and not the individual researcher – has the authority to enter into agreements on intellectual property rights with private companies. At Aarhus University, the assignment of negotiating agreements on rights with private companies is delegated to Corporate Relations and Technology Transfer

      What does project financing mean in relation to ownership of intellectual property rights?

      When public research institutions and private companies enter into agreements on research, ownership of the rights to the inventions the project may generate depends on a concrete negotiation. 

      As a rule of thumb,

    • the bigger the share of the costs a private company pays, the greater the control the company can expect to gain of the project’s results, and

    • the more closely linked the project is to the commercial market, the greater the share of the costs the private company can expect to pay.

      When research institutions sell a given research service on market terms and the company pays the full project costs (commissioned research or income-generating activities), the company can expect ownership of the intellectual property rights resulting from the research service to be transferred to the private company without any separate payment. 

      When the research institution and the private company jointly cover the costs, then as a starting point each party involved in the project will own the rights to their own inventions. If the company wants to acquire or exploit the institution's rights, the conditions for this must be specified in detail in the cooperation agreement. 

      What should be paid for intellectual property rights from public research?

      When public research institutions transfer intellectual rights to private companies this must be at market price, and the institutions must seek to cover their costs. 

      The actual pricing is a matter of negotiation. In general, the price will depend on the relevant product market and the scope of the transfer of rights. As a rule of thumb, the company will pay a higher price for exclusive exploitation rights or ownership than for non-exclusive exploitation rights. 

      If the company buys a research service on market terms with the cost to the institution fully covered, the price for the intellectual property rights resulting from the research service will typically be included in the total price.

  • Which projects are covered by the requirement for public access to information regarding universities’ private financing of research?

    • Which projects are covered by the requirement for public access to information regarding universities’ private financing of research?

      When private companies co-finance public research, there are special requirements regarding public access to information on private financing. This is specified in the 'Guidelines on public access to information on private financing of research at government research institutions' (in Danish) (Retningslinjer for offentlighed om privat finansiering af forskning ved statslige forskningsinstitutioner) issued by the then Danish Ministry of Research on 13 June 2000.

      Pursuant to section 7 of the regulations, researchers at government research institutions must provide information on any private sources of financing when publishing research results as part of their employment. 

      Pursuant to section 4, private financing means subsidies that cannot be characterised as public grants or that have not been granted by public institutions, public-sector enterprises, government research councils, public foundations etc.

      Section 3 of the same regulations states that government research institutions must prepare an annual overview of private funding for public research carried out at the institution. 

      The objective of the guidelines is to ensure public access to information on private financing of public research. The overviews must be made publicly available (see section 6 of the regulations). 

      In accordance with section 5, the overview must include:

    • the title of the privately funded project

    • the name of the private funder

    • the amount 

      Section 5 of the regulations states that projects financed by private funding alone and which cannot be regarded as public research are only subject to the access-to-information requirement when it has been agreed that the research results must be published. Publication of the names of private sources of financing must then be made public in conjunction with the publication of the research results at the latest. 

      Financial Control at Aarhus University is responsible for the preparation and publication of the overview for Aarhus University.

For more detailed answers, please see the legal basis for the rules regarding collaboration between universities and businesses, to be found on the Ministry of Higher Education and Science's website.

See in particular the memo of 1 January 2005: The ministry's guidelines on universities’ research collaboration and the Johan Schlüter Committee's memo of 21 October 2008 "Rules on cooperation agreements and  agreements on rights between public research institutions and private companies" (in Danish).

Grant recipient's responsibility

The grant recipient is responsible for ongoing use of the grant, which entails the following:

  • Ensuring that the grant is handled in accordance with the funder’s instructions and guidelines.
  • Reviewing all his/her projects at appropriate intervals – at least once a quarter. Filing printouts of reports bearing the signature or initials of whoever carried out the review.
  • Taking the initiative in getting the grants paid directly into the university’s deposit account as soon as possible after the grant has been awarded, including taking the initiative with regard to any staggered payments. For further information please see "Procedure for issuing payment requests for external funding" (in Danish). There is no need to take action regarding payment of grants from AUFF, as this takes place centrally between the Projects unit in Financial Control and the administration of the Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF).
  • Making sure a project does not go overdrawn and ensuring any overdraft is settled immediately, either by means of a payment or by moving a cost away from the project, unless it is an EU or state grant that requires AU to make advance payments. Web AURAP financial reports can be used for this purpose. 
  • Authorising invoices, ensuring that costs incurred for the project relate to the project in question and comply with any special grant conditions. Web AURAP financial reports can be used to obtain an overview of this.
  • Providing the project finance administrators and the head of finance for the faculty in question with information on the project budget and any changes to it, so the budget can be included in the financial management system and thus in the university’s overall budget planning.
  • Providing the project finance administrators and the head of finance for the faculty in question with information on any planned acquisitions in excess of DKK 100,000 connected with the project, with a view to their inclusion in the university’s investment budget.
  • Informing the project finance administrators and the head of finance for the faculty in question about equipment purchased, with a view to registration of fixed assets and activation in Navision’s fixed-assets module. See link to the description of the fixed-assets process (in Danish).
  • Ensuring documentation of time consumption for project staff, if this is required under the terms of the grant conditions.
  • Ensuring that employees’ employment ends after the applicable period of notice if there are insufficient funds to cover pay costs for the project.
  • Letting Payroll know immediately, in writing, if a project employee’s employment ends at a time before the date specified in the letter of appointment.
  • Ensuring that employees’ holidays are registered continuously in the university’s absence system AUHRA whilst they are employed on the project.
  • Making sure that academic and financial reports, including any revised budgets, are sent to the funder to ensure compliance with the terms of the grant. Financial reports on EU framework programme projects must be signed by the Research Support Office.
  • Reporting the project’s publishing results via PURE.