Research projects with industry
If a company is interested in a definite partnership with ETH Zurich, the technology transfer office, ETH transfer, helps to work out the best solution and draw up the relevant agreements. The focus is always on sharing knowledge efficiently and providing access to the research results on fair terms. This is intended to ensure that new technologies are implemented as quickly as possible and made available for the benefit of society.
Typically, in case of a Research Collaboration Agreement, an industrial partner supports a research project at ETH Zurich (e.g. through funding).
A number of important points should be considered when establishing such an agreement:
- It is important to define such projects clearly, so that they can easily be distinguished from other research projects carried out at ETH Zurich (especially within the same group).
- It is often the case, that the parties to such an agreement expect new intellectual property (e.g. inventions or software) to be created in the course of the project. The agreement defines what rights the industrial partner has to the project results (and any intellectual property); this can range from options to negotiate a license, to exclusive licenses, or even acquisition of specifically identified intellectual property rights.
- The right of ETH Zurich researchers to publish the project results must be secured in the agreement. Publications can be delayed, for a restricted period of time if needed to allow for patent protection.
- When calculating the project costs (PDF, 50 KB), the infrastructure contribution of 10% on top of the direct costs needs to be accounted for. This contribution is levied on any and all projects where the industrial partner obtains any rights to intellectual property, or is granted a first right to negotiate an exclusive license in a specific field.
Alternatively, if both parties agree, ETH Zurich can grant the partner the prior right to file patent applications in the partner’s name. The partner shall then have the exclusive right of use of these patents in a specified field. The rights of use outside such a field of use shall rest with ETH Zurich. The same applies for the use of software generated in the project. In such cases, an additional overhead of 35% (i.e. a total of 45% overhead costs) on top of the direct costs needs to be added to the project budget.