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For Industrial PhD Supervisors

An Industrial PhD is an industrially focused research project and PhD education, which is carried out in a collaboration between a company, an Industrial PhD student and a university.
 

What to gain from entering into an Industrial PhD project?

  • The supervisor and university strengthens its relations with the business sector and a foundation for new research is created.
  • The project allows the Industrial PhD student to carry out a research project where results are applied in an enterprise setting.
  • The company and supervisor gets an Industrial PhD student who is able to carry out a high quality research project and create results that can lead to commercial gain. At the same time, the company strengthens its relations to existing and new collaboration partners at the university.


An Industrial PhD student is employed in the company and enrolled at the university (in this case the Graduate School of Technical Sciences/GSTS at Aarhus University). The Industrial PhD student shares his/her working time equally between the company and the university and spends all the working time on the Industrial PhD project.

Prior to application

To be considered for enrolment in an Industrial PhD programme, an application must be submitted both to GSTS and to Innovation Fund Denmark. The applicant formally applies to GSTS, and the company formally applies to Innovation Fund Denmark. Please note that the applicant must have a conditional approval from GSTS before the Head of Department signs a signature sheet for the company’s application to Innovation Fund Denmark so we advise you to consider the application deadlines closely.

GSTS recommends that the applicant, the company and the university supervisor discuss the project closely prior to submitting an application to ensure that all parties agree on the framework and content of the application – and thereby the Industrial PhD programme.

The company and university can also apply to Innovation Fund Denmark without a candidate. If the application is approved, a qualified candidate must then be found within six months.

Issues/questions on confidentiality/IPR should be discussed and resolved before commencement of the project.

Application procedure

The Industrial PhD candidate formally applies to GSTS, and the company formally applies to Innovation Fund Denmark.

The applicant formally applies to GSTS. More information on application deadlines, language requirements and our online application facility can be found here.

If accepted by GSTS the offer of admission will only be granted on the condition that the PhD project is later approved and the funding secured from Innovation Fund Denmark.

The company formally applies to Innovation Fund Denmark. For more information on application deadlines and guidelines, please visit their website (in Danish or in English). Please note that the applicant must have a conditional approval from GSTS before the company submits an application to Innovation Fund Denmark, unless the project is approved without a candidate.

Prior to commencement of the project

If GSTS and Innovation Fund Denmark approve the project and the Industrial PhD student, both the company and the university must sign a second signature sheet before the Industrial PhD project can be commenced. This must take place within six months of receipt of Innovation Fund Denmark’s letter of project approval.

The first part of the subsidy to the university (85 %) will be paid when the project starts, however not until the signed Letter of Commitment (Tilsagnsskrivelse) for both company and university, and the admission letter have all been uploaded to e-grant. The last part of the subsidy to the university (15 %) will be paid after a successful PhD defence when GSTS has uploaded the PhD diploma to E-grant.

The Industrial PhD project must be initiated no later than six months after Innovation Fund Denmark’s approval. The project officially starts from the date of the Industrial PhD student’s enrolment at the university as an Industrial PhD student.

Distribution of the Subsidy

Innovation Fund Denmark provides subsidies to both the company (including a wage subsidy) and the university. Innovation Fund Denmark provides the university with a fixed subsidy of DKK 360,000 (December 2021 level).

The following applies to projects applied for in 2017 and onwards:

Of the DKK 360,000, DKK 110,000 goes to the department as overhead. The remaining DKK 250,000 may according to Innovation Fund Denmark’s Guidelines be used for the following:

  • The university’s supervision of the Industrial PhD student
  • The Industrial PhD student’s work facilities at the university - this includes acquisition and/or use of equipment necessary for carrying out the university part of the project
  • The Industrial PhD student’s participation in relevant PhD courses (at the host university or other universities)
  • Assessment of the PhD thesis
  • Dissemination of results, including printing the PhD thesis

Of the DKK 250,000, a contribution of DKK 30,000 must be paid each year to the department. GSTS then collects contribution per year from the Department. The contribution covers e.g. expenses in connection with the qualifying exam, assessment of the PhD thesis and relevant transferable skills courses at AU.

The project finance administrator who normally manages the main supervisor’s grants is also responsible for the industrial PhD grant and attends to all relevant financial matters concerning the grant and the project. Please contact your project finance administrator for questions regarding financial matters.

For more info about the company’s subsidies, see Innovation Fund Denmark’s Guidelines p. 6.

Regulations and Guidelines

Industrial PhD students are subject to the same regulations and guidelines as other PhD students enrolled at GSTS, including the Ministerial Order and GSTS’s Rules and regulations.

In addition, Innovation Fund Denmark may have certain requirements that the Industrial PhD student has to meet. This includes among others participating in a mandatory 5 ECTS course in connection with the Industrial PhD programme. The Industrial PhD student, the university supervisor and the company supervisor also have to attend Innovation Fund Denmark’s kick-off meeting. Find more information on Innovation Fund Denmark’s guidelines, requirements and the kick-off meeting here.

Please note that Innovation Fund Denmark conducts a follow-up on the project focusing on the collaboration, results and effects. This is conducted 1½ year into the industrial PhD project and again when the project ends.

Confidentiality/IPR should be discussed and resolved before commencement of the project. Furthermore, any questions about confidentiality must be resolved before the progress report and the PhD thesis respectively is submitted. Please contact GSTS, if necessary.

Duty to inform of any material changes to the Industrial PhD study

As recipients of a subsidy, both the company and the university have a duty to disclose all material facts to Innovation Fund Denmark. Thus, the Fund must be informed as soon as possible in case of changes in the basis for payment of subsidy. These changes include: Change of supervisor(s), Leave, Major disruptions or delays, and Significant academic changes.

The company is responsible for informing Innovation Fund Denmark of cases concerning all types of leave. The university is responsible for informing Innovation Fund Denmark of cases concerning academic and study-related issues, including change of university supervisor(s). In case of company supervisor change, GSTS must also approve the change. If there are any changes in cases where the university has a duty to disclose material facts, please contact GSTS.

Note that, in principle, the project can only continue when and if Innovation Fund Denmark has approved the changes. If the duty to disclose all material facts is not upheld, Innovation Fund Denmark can decide to stop payment of the subsidy and demand repayment of any paid subsidies.

If the Industrial PhD study is discontinued

If an Industrial PhD education is discontinued, the project participants must jointly provide a written account of the process and the reasons for discontinuation. The account must be signed by the company, the university and the Industrial PhD student and submitted to the Fund within three months after the date of discontinuation.

The company may be required to repay any subsidy received if it discontinues the project or prevents the planned execution of an Industrial PhD education, which the university and the Industrial PhD student are still interested in and capable of continuing. The Industrial PhD student is likewise obligated to carry out the work tasks agreed upon in the application. GSTS must also be notified, if the Industrial PhD education is discontinued.  

Note that in cases where the Industrial PhD student does not obtain a PhD degree, the remaining 15% of the subsidy will not be paid to the university.

After the defence

After the defence, GSTS uploads a scan of the Industrial PhD student’s PhD diploma to Innovation Fund Denmark in E-grant. This enables the second and last subsidy of 15% of the amount to be paid to the university.

Note that in cases where the Industrial PhD student does not obtain a PhD degree, the remaining 15% of the subsidy will not be paid to the university.

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