Research FundingIndustry and Other Funders

Contract research, typically commissioned by a non-public funder for services from the university in the form of expert opinions, reports, research results and the like, represents an economic activity for the university.

To prevent public funds from subsidising contract research, the service must be provided either at the market price or an amount arrived at through calculating the full cost plus a reasonable margin.

Cooperation with private, third parties

Cooperation of Heidelberg University researchers with private third parties can take various forms. The design of the project contract requires distinguishing pure contract research for a private contractor from cooperative research and scientific services (WDL). Selecting the best type of contract ensures seamless cooperation with third parties throughout the execution of the contract. For project budgeting and exploitation rights, it is particularly important to distinguish contract research from other types of cooperation with private funders.

Table: Distinction of the cooperation with private third parties

Even before the contract is initiated, the Research Division provides a full range of consulting services through the Heidelberg Research Service to ensure that the research project is properly allocated. All contractual provisions undergo legal review within the division and are signed if necessary.  Prior to any bid, the Heidelberg Research Service also assists in calculating costs and, if needed, notifies the contracting party of the calculation basis that Heidelberg University uses. For the duration of the project, time sheets are analysed in the Research Division, and once the indirect costs have been identified, the project manager can obtain information on the target vs. actual progress of the project. The Heidelberg Research Service regularly holds informational events to explain Heidelberg University regulations concerning third-party-funded research.


These regulations and especially the clauses for indirect costs are valid only for non-medical faculties. The medical faculties use another method to determine full costs.