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Collaborating with companies

It is also possible to collaborate with a company on a project. Collaborating with a company while you are studying gives you the opportunity to:

  • Develop and practice your academic skills in a real work-related context.
  • Get to know your future job market.
  • Discover what specific skills you have, and what you excel at.
  • Find out which competencies you might need to improve further in order to be an attractive candidate within a specific area or the job market in general.
  • Enhance your network while studying – it might be the way to obtain a relevant student job or even a full-time job, when you have finished graduated.
  • Further develop your CV while studying etc. 

Agreements of confidentiality and rights

ITU recommends that aspects of confidentiality and intellectual property rights are discussed before starting such projects. This is among other things to ensure that you do not enter into a contract with a company on unfair terms, such as to waive all the rights to your IP without any remuneration.

 ITU has prepared an example of a so-called Confidentiality Agreement and a Confidentiality and Rights Agreement for a student project that you and the company can use. This is not a requirement; However, ITU will only co-sign an agreement for a student project, if the agreement is based on our template, see section on the Confidentiality and Rights Agreement below.

Many companies prefer to use their own agreement, but ITU will not sign these, and you can only commit yourself – and not ITU – to the content with your signature.   

A Confidentiality Agreement is between you and the company, and ITU is not a part of the agreement.

Both supervisor and examiner are obliged to follow the duty of confidentiality in general. Therefore, you do not need a signature from your supervisor or any other ITU representative. For this reason as well, you must be extra careful what you agree to, as the agreement is your responsibility.

A Confidentiality and Rights Agreement is between you, ITU and the Company. Please be aware that certain provisions regarding e.g. confidentiality, examination and rights to ITU’s intellectual property cannot be changed as ITU are bound by the rules in the University Act, the Examination Act, the Research Patent Act and the state aid rules.

The non-negotiable provisions are marked as such in the agreement. If these provisions are changed in any way, ITU consider the agreement invalid. You can always change the provisions concerning your own rights to intellectual property.

Have it signed by ITU
It is a requirement that ITU’s pro-rector sign this type of agreement. Therefore, please contact for such.

You are not entitled to use ITU Legal, as this is a service to the University staff that can be used as part of their work.

Legal will often get involved in your project through the supervisor, but please be aware that it is the supervisor's interests that Legal are protecting and not yours.

Legal has tried to consider the interests of students in preparing the standard contract Confidentiality and Rights agreement.

If necessary, you can mark in LearnIT that the assignment is confidential, when you submit it. In addition, the oral exam will be held behind closed doors, i.e. without an audience, on your request.

We recommend that you show any agreement to your supervisor before you sign it, so you and your supervisor can ensure that the agreement does not contain elements, which are in violation with ITU regulations for projects and exams.

1. Remember, it is not a requirement in general to enter into a Confidentiality Agreement or an Agreement on Confidentiality and Rights with companies. 
2. Make sure you understand the content and consequences of the agreement.
3. Remember that you own the intellectual property rights (IPR) in the works you produce.
4. Remember that you and the company often have conflicting interests. 
5. Make sure that you are given a fair remuneration for your project results. You should rather not be the new student who develops a new Facebook, without getting a piece of the cake!
6. Remember to be credited for your work
7. Remember that the goal is for you to pass your exam! 

A project executed in collaboration with a company must be set up as any other project at ITU; you must register the project in the same way, observe the same deadlines, find a supervisor from ITU who will accept your project and supervise you, etc.

The project must also meet the same academic standard as other projects at ITU. This means, that you must discuss the problem statement with the ITU supervisor, and find out how the company can be used as a case in the final assignment.

There are several ways to get in touch with a company:
  • Many companies have uploaded project proposals in the Job- and Project Bank (you might also check the Project Banks of other Universities). Take a look at companies that have posted internships as well; often these will be interested in project collaboration.
  • Twice a year The Study and Career Guidance hosts an event, where the companies/organizations who are interested in collaborating with students visit ITU. See the calendar for The Study and Career Guidance here.
  • If you are looking at potential companies that you think would be interesting to work with, do not hesitate to contact them. Many companies are interested in working with students.
  • Some teachers are in contact with companies on their own – you can then ask the person you have in mind to supervise your project.

It is a good idea to discuss your individual expectations, before you start the project collaboration. You can ask yourself questions like:

  • Why does the company wish to collaborate with students and what are their expectations in terms of the outcome of this collaboration?
  •  What are their expectations in regards to how the project collaboration will go about?
  •  Does the company have any preferences in terms of method, theoretical approach, the design of the study etc.?

Before you make an agreement with a company or organization, you should make sure that it is possible for you to gain access to relevant data, which is important for your project. This means that you should:

  • Make sure you have a contact person at the company who has time to meet up with you or your group.
  • If you need to conduct interviews etc., you should make sure that the company is prepared for that.
  • Ensure that you have the opportunity to gain access to relevant material, such as: Meeting summaries, reports, software, documentation etc.

Will you be working with personal data with a company or organization? Please read about your responsibility as a student working with personal data here.