Strategic Contracting in Research Collaborations

Mette Christine Stisen & Mette Schmidt Uldall

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to optimize the contracts in research collaborations. The optimization is sought through the use of the proactive contract paradigm, which is to lead the parties to achieve relational rent. By collaborating, the parties can obtain a relational rent, which is an added value that the parties could not have achieved separately. Based on this rationale, it is considered essential to ensure that more research collaborations become a reality. Furthermore, the challenges for research collaborations are analyzed with the purpose to try and resolve these challenges. The thesis presents the relevant parties and how innovation is created between them. Regarding innovation, Chesbrough's theories of innovation paradigms are used. Based on this, it can be concluded that the key to the innovation creation is that it is based on the combination of internal and external knowledge resources. It is sought to clarify the parties' ability to achieve relational rent. The analysis of this is based on Dyer & Singh's theory. For research collaborations, it is concluded that it is possible to meet all four criteria to achieve relational rent. The contract paradigm has a great influence on the achievement of relational rent. In addition, it involves the conventional and the proactive contract paradigm. Both paradigms face challenges, however, the proactive is considered as most complementary to research collaboration. The challenges are illustrated as principal-agent theory and transaction cost theory. Due to the costs, it may be uncertain whether the parties will join the cooperation. Therefore, game theory is used to illustrate the parties' strategy and what the most optimal strategy is. It can be concluded that legal regulation is needed to get the parties to cooperate and innovate. In addition, the parties' legal position is determined, to which the thesis analyzes and finds that the one absorbing the knowledge produced in the collaboration owns it, and the inventor owns the rights. If the inventor is a public or private researcher, the rights will be transferred to the employer. Finally, a solution is presented in the form of the nine most important clauses, which is considered to solve some of the discussed challenges.

EducationsMSc in Commercial Law, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages125
SupervisorsKim Ƙstergaard