Confidential theses and projects

Students often cooperate with private companies or organisations when writing their theses and reports. These external partners may want to make a written agreement to prevent any third party from getting access to confidential information. 

Aarhus University’s obligations

If a company or an organisation - when cooperating with an AU student on a thesis or report - requests for confidentiality about knowledge acquired by the institution and the student, Aarhus University is obliged to comply with the confidentiality rules listed below. Please note that main part of these rules only becomes effective, if the thesis is marked 'Confidential'.

The following rule applies, if a student writing his/her thesis informs his/her academic supervisor about a secrecy agreement made with a company or organisation:

  • The supervisor is bound to observe professional secrecy about the company knowledge acquired in the supervising process.

Furthermore, if the thesis is marked 'Confidential' because of the above-mentioned agreement, the following rules apply:

  • The submitted copies of the thesis will only be available for the supervisor/examiner, external examiner and the necessary administrative staff, and copies will not be distributed to others.
  • The supervisor/examiner and the external examiner are bound to observe professional secrecy about the company knowledge acquired from the thesis and the oral examination, if any.
  • The administrative staff is bound to secrecy about any company knowledge acquired from the thesis. 

  • The supervisor/examiner has to ensure that the oral examination (if any) is held behind closed doors.
  • If the library receives a copy of the thesis, it will not be available for reading and/or lending.
  • In the case of an appeal in connection with an exam complaint, the thesis will be available for all members of the appeals committee, who will be bound to professional secrecy, as described in item 3. 

Student obligations

Often it will be necessary to draw up a confidentiality agreement between the company/organisation and the student. For that reason, AU has prepared a standard confidentiality agreement which is recommended for use by the student and the company.

Standard Confidentiality Agreement

It is recommended that students and the company use the standard confidentiality agreement. See Confidentiality Agreement.

Please follow this procedure in connection with the standard confidentiality agreement:

  1. The student must ensure that the agreement is signed by:
    • The student in question
    • The company in question 
    • The supervisor
  2. The supervisor must subsequently submit the standard confidentiality agreement to the departmental programme coordinator for signing (see below)
  3. Once the confidentiality agreement has been signed by everyone, the student must submit an electronic copy to tto@au.dk (Technology Transfer Office) for filing and storing

Company-specific Confidentiality Agreement

If the standard confidentiality agreement is not used, the other confidentiality agreement must be approved by TTO (Technology Transfer Office; tto@au.dk).

Please follow this procedure in connection with the company-specific confidentiality agreement:

  1. Students must make the supervisor aware that they are using another agreement than the standard confidentiality agreement
  2. The supervisor must send the agreement to TTO for approval
  3. When the agreement has been approved, the supervisor must send it to the departmental programme coordinator (or, if necessary, the department head) for signing
  4. The student will then receive the signed contract and must make sure that it is signed by the company.
  5. Once the company has signed the contract, the student must return the contract to the supervisor and TTO for filing and storing. 

Departmental Programme Coordinators

The following departmental programme coordinators can sign the confidentiality agreement:

BAMMC/MACC: Christian Waldstrøm

IKTO: Morten Rask og Sune Dueholm Müller