We wish to make research results and the expertise of University graduates available to society as effectively as possible. Diverse collaboration conducted with businesses and other partners supports the University in carrying out its core duties: research, teaching and public engagement.
In these principles, business collaboration denotes contractual research, teaching and other collaboration that involves agreements and/or other contractual counter-performance. Business collaboration is being continuously developed through interaction with partners in accordance with the ethical principles of business collaboration at the University of Helsinki.
The operations of the University of Helsinki are always founded on the University’s values of truth, freedom, Bildung and inclusivity; the regulations of the University and its Funds and their strategic plans, guidelines and ethical principles; and valid legislation. In business collaboration, the University also complies with generally accepted principles of research ethics as well as, for example, the Dual-use Regulation of the EU as well as the guidelines and provisions based on it. The University has undertaken to comply with the ‘Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland’ guidelines issued by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity.
Compliance with the ethical principles of business collaboration at the University of Helsinki is required in all business collaboration activities of the University, and all employees and elected officials of the University and the University of Helsinki Funds must act in accordance with the principles. The guidelines also apply to circumstances where members of the University community act as private individuals, who however act as representatives on the basis of their status at the University. The University honours in its operations its partners and their representatives, as well as the principles of integrity, responsibility, trust and respect for all parties.
The University’s business collaboration is based on the implementation of the University’s strategic plan and the promotion of its values in collaboration with the University's partners. In addition to legislation, values and norms, University operations are guided by the goal of sustainability and responsibility. The University investigates the potential for reconciling partner operations with the premise of University operations on a case-by-case basis, using the information available at the time.
Agreements pertaining to collaboration and any funding terms set by external funders define the content of collaboration conducted with businesses in accordance with legislation and the generally accepted principles of research ethics indicated above. In the case of market-priced commissioned research or consultation associated with a counter-performance, the commissioning party defines the goals of research together with the University and receives ownership or other specifically determined rights to the research results. Since the University is not permitted to allocate government funding or other public funds to supporting businesses, businesses cannot obtain exclusive rights to the results of research carried out collaboratively or even partially with public funds: in the case of such research, the results are published and utilised in accordance with the funding terms and the principles of the University. The University and/or University researchers and other staff are also involved in a range of larger research and other collaboration consortia whose operations are governed by consortium-specific agreements. Other examples of various contractual forms of business collaboration include collaborative research where the University obtains data from the business collaboration partner; collaborative research where the costs are covered by the business and the University, resulting in the co-ownership of the results; as well as sponsorship associated with conferences, goods or services. Also carried out with businesses are various collaboration projects based on co-creation, for which practices are agreed together, a range of challenge- and project-based courses and other teaching collaboration, as well as thesis collaboration related to different stages of studies.
The University describes its business collaboration in its communications as well as in its accounting and reporting on operations and finances in a manner agreed with its business collaboration partners. For the sake of the openness of University operations, it is important for the University to be able to communicate on various forms of business collaboration and partnerships as agreed with the relevant partners.
The University of Helsinki collaborates diversely with its partners. Consequently, such collaboration can also affect research, teaching or publications in a manner agreed with business collaboration partners within the framework of the University’s strategic plan, values and other ethics guidelines. However, the University always independently makes decisions related to business collaboration that pertains to the conduct of research or studies, personnel choices related to studying, research or employment, grades, or other academic performance. Business collaboration partnerships do not confer to partners any bargaining or other advantages in relation to University operations, and the University observes its anti-corruption policy in its operations.
Legislation, values as well as sustainability and responsibility, as described in the strategic plan of the University, and respect for the value of humans and nature as a whole guide all University operations. In the case of business collaboration, this means, among other things, that the University does not collaborate with businesses whose operations are based on any known illegal activity; the University does not conduct collaboration whose purpose endangers the University’s autonomy, independence or reputation, or whose purpose conflicts with the University's values; and the University does not conduct collaboration whose purpose can endanger the ethical, ecological, financial or social sustainability of University operations on the basis of an overall review carried out in accordance with the principle of due diligence.
To put its ethics principles into practice, the University assesses the potential and initiation of business collaboration on a case-by-case basis to ensure, among other things, its independence and the establishment of business partnerships where its values as well as responsibility and sustainability are taken into consideration. The University investigates the background of its business collaboration partners thoroughly and sufficiently comprehensively in relation to the collaboration, complying with the principle of due diligence. The University can also conduct business collaboration with parties for which the University carries out a collaboration assessment in accordance with the principle of due diligence. Examples of situations to be assessed:
In all of its business collaboration activities, the University complies with legislation, regulations and provisions pertaining to data protection and confidentiality. Any personal data related to business collaboration are processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU. Also in the case of data on study subjects participating in research projects, collaboration is conducted in compliance with the GDPR, other relevant legislation and consent given by the study subjects.
The University respects business secrets and confidentiality in all discussions and other communication. Data are processed in reliable and secure information systems. The University or its staff disclose confidential data that they have obtained to third parties only for statutory purposes.
In commissioned research, any confidential data of the commissioning party are kept confidential in accordance with the agreement concluded between the University and the commissioning party. The publication of research results is agreed so that the industrial property rights associated with the results can be protected and the confidentiality of information is not compromised.
Each member of the University community is responsible for complying with these principles in their work. The implementation of the principles is managed as part of the University’s normal operations management system, and staff activities in business collaboration can also be investigated through internal auditing, when necessary.
The University always reports to the relevant authorities suspicions of criminal or otherwise illegal activity related to partnerships or contractual collaboration. The handling of such cases as well as unclear cases pertaining to the anti-corruption policy and related allegations of misconduct is supervised by the director of administration, while the handling of allegations of research misconduct is supervised by the chancellor.
The University carries out assessments related to business collaboration in accordance with its obligations of due diligence. In situations where the University considers that conflicts may arise between the University’s and its partner’s strategic plans, values or other practices related to, for example, sustainability and responsibility, the matter will be discussed, when necessary, by the University’s Ethics Advisory Council. The council’s views will be utilised in assessing the possibilities of reconciling the strategic plans, values and other operations of the business collaboration partner and the University.
The following paragraphs describe the texts in the footnotes of the principles approved by the Board of Directors of the University of Helsinki (24 November 2021, in Finnish) as a separate whole, so that the entire file is in an accessible format and thus available to all readers interested in the principles