Ethical principles of fundraising and business collaboration
The ethical principles of fundraising and business collaboration at the University of Helsinki serve as guidelines for the University of Helsinki and University of Helsinki Funds as well as their staff and elected officials.
Legislation and values guide fundraising and business collaboration

The University’s operations are based on its own values, rules and guidelines as well as compliance with legislation, other binding provisions and the generally accepted principles of research ethics.

The University does not accept financial or other benefits to exercise its power vis-à-vis third parties other than to carry out its core duties of research, teaching and community relations.

The University has committed to observing the guidelines for the responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland, issued by the National Advisory Board on Research Integrity.

In its operations, the University respects its partners and individual persons as well as the principles of honesty, responsibility, trust and mutual esteem towards all parties.

The objective of fundraising and business collaboration is to implement the strategic plans of the University and its partners and to promote their values.

Trust is at the core of fundraising and business collaboration

The University’s operations are based on lawfulness, honesty and truthfulness as well as the most accurate information available. The University acts to build the confidence of donors, funders, partners and associates in its operations.

Donations and partnerships must be kept separate from other processes

The University will not incorporate its fundraising or business collaboration into its procurement processes. The University’s fundraising is based on a fundraising permit from the National Police Board, and business collaboration complies with current legislation and provisions. The University’s acquisitions are handled as a public procurement process, regulated by the Public Procurement Act.

Donors and other funders cannot influence staff appointments, student admissions, academic performance or the completion of degrees. Moreover, donors and other funders cannot influence the University’s teaching, research or publications contrary to the University’s strategic plan, values or research ethical guidelines.

A donation is never a bribe. The University of Helsinki emphasises that a donor or partner relationship does not provide an advantage in negotiations or other areas of the University’s operations. In addition, the University’s operations must not lead anyone to believe that a donation or other funding would constitute hidden corruption.

Collaboration is based on agreements

Collaboration agreements and the funding terms of any external funders define the content of collaboration with companies within both the framework of the law and generally accepted principles of research ethics.

In chargeable, market-priced commissioned research projects, the commissioner defines the objectives of research together with the University and obtains the right of ownership or other specified rights to the research results.

In collaborative research performed even partly with public funding, the University cannot use government budget funding or other public funding to support companies. Consequently, companies do not obtain exclusive rights to the results of such research; rather the results are published and used in accordance with the terms of funding and the University’s principles.

Transparency minimises risks

The University must clearly and openly explain the uses and purposes of donated funds and the income from them. This principle applies to donations to both the University of Helsinki and University of Helsinki Funds.

The University accepts donations and commissions that promote its objectives and values. The University always decides whether to accept a donation or commission based on its own rules, and can also decline donations and commissions.

The University aims to establish the origin of donated funds and takes into account risks related to corruption, bribery and money laundering. Donations to the University of Helsinki are in the public domain under the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, and the University cannot accept completely anonymous donations.

Project-related commissions and the selection of partners must comply with equivalent principles.

Trust is built on staff activities

Reports on the University’s operations and administration must comply with the principles of truth, transparency and openness.

Staff must report and establish all actual or potential conflicts of interest. University staff are responsible for ensuring that they act ethically and responsibly, also in relation to associates.

University staff must avoid personal or professional misconduct in their activities and must not pursue personal benefits by using their status or the University’s property, knowledge or business opportunities.

University staff must respect donors’ independent decision-making powers and must not act in ways that can be interpreted as pressure or the inappropriate encouragement of corruption.

Data protection ensures confidentiality

University staff must comply with the laws, rules and regulations on data protection and secrecy. Information in the donor register must be available only for the University’s own use and must not be disclosed to external parties. A data file description must be prepared for registers containing personal data. For data on research subjects, research projects must comply with legislation and the consent provided by the subjects.

Information on donors can be promptly removed from the donor register at a donor’s request and from other registers as required by legislation. However, the University will not destroy information related to its legal obligation to have knowledge of the donors and other parties on which it has collected information. If necessary, the University is obligated to disclose information on donations in accordance with the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999).

University staff cannot disclose to external parties any confidential information or business secrets that have come to their knowledge, but will respect confidentiality in all discussions and other communications.

In commissioned research, the commissioner’s confidential information must be kept that way, as agreed by the University and the commissioner. As for the publication of research results, the parties can agree that the results will be protected by industrial property rights and that the confidentiality of information will be maintained

Ethically unclear cases must be resolved

Holders of leadership positions in University units are responsible for compliance with these principles in their unit. If necessary, the University’s internal auditing can also clarify the staff’s activities in fundraising and business collaboration.

If the University suspects that a donation or contractual collaboration involves a criminal offence or other illegal activity, the University must request that the appropriate authorities investigate the matter. Inquiries concerning such suspicions as well as unclear cases and suspected violations of the principles against corruption must be headed by the director of administration.

The chancellor is in charge of inquiries concerning alleged violations of the responsible conduct of research.