Through its Knowledge Transfer Office, the University of Ljubljana fosters collaboration with industry.

Such collaboration is useful, as it improves the economic status of the University and the faculty, which translates into better equipment, attracts students and staff of higher calibre, enhances the institution’s reputation in society and enables more stable development.

The Office thus strives to establish as many long-term partnerships as possible, basing them on open communication and fair business practices.

R&D contracts

Consultancy contract or contract on the ​provision of services, in which a University member agrees with an industrial partner on providing services related to specific research equipment, expertise or knowledge, and the industrial partner agrees to pay for such services.

Contract on commissioning research, in which a University member/faculty agrees with an industrial partner to conduct research on a challenge that is relevant for the industrial partner, and the latter agrees to pay for this service. In the framework of such contracts, it is prohibited to transfer previous knowledge to the contracting authority. If the research is based on prior knowledge, it is recommended that such knowledge be defined in the contract, along with the rights to the use of such knowledge. If previous knowledge constitutes an invention owned by the University of Ljubljana, the Knowledge Transfer Office must be informed prior to assigning any rights concerning the invention.

Contract on research collaboration, by means of which partners undertake to conduct a research. To this end, partners pool together previous knowledge, staff and financial resources, and share the risk of success. It is important that the contract clearly describes prior knowledge and the other inputs (financial, material, human resources) which partners bring to the project.

European projects

Cooperation between the academic sector and business is also promoted through Slovenian, European and other international calls for applications. In terms of the number of European research projects obtained, the University of Ljubljana ranks among the top universities and research organisations in the new EU Member States (EU13). We are keen to engage in high-quality and active cooperation with the business sector by competing to obtain European projects. Projects like these are also an excellent opportunity for companies, who are therefore able to lower research and development costs.

Agreements on the intellectual property rights that arise in the course of projects are key to such cooperation. European projects place special emphasis on the management of intellectual property rights, with partners obliged to demonstrate, at the application stage, that they intend to protect the results with intellectual property rights, and ensure their application, after the project comes to an end.

The Office helps you find partners and arrange intellectual property rights. For more information on calls for applications and help in compiling applications, contact the University Research Office at

Licensing and transfer of intellectual property rights

Industrial partners have the option of using the already existing knowledge of the University. With a Contract on transferring intellectual property rights, the University transfers these rights to the company or allows the company to use the rights via license contracts. License contracts can be exclusive or non-exclusive, time- and geographically limited, with restriction to specific fields of use also being possible. Contracts on transfer determine the price, while license contracts determine the licensing fee.

Partnership in further development of technologies

We collaborate with various partners on the path from idea to market. After protecting the intellectual property created within research conducted by a University member, we begin searching for partners that can help you financially, professionally or in some other way to produce a prototype or to confirm that your idea works. We sign a contract on collaboration with such a partner, thus determining partners’ contributions and rights to the project results. The partner’s contributions mainly depend on their interest in using the University’s knowledge. Although the contract on collaboration does not transfer the existing intellectual property rights, it is recommended that the rights to project results are also retained.

In exchange for partner’s contribution, we offer the partner more favourable terms on transferring intellectual property rights. If the partner is not interested in the University’s knowledge, we can come to an agreement that they are entitled to a certain share from the revenue that arises from the University selling the intellectual property rights or licensing the University’s knowledge.

Protection of confidentiality and materials

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) enables us to share our unprotected knowledge/ideas with others in order to assess the interest in collaboration. An NDA prohibits the counterparty from using our knowledge/idea without our permission or from disclosing it to unauthorised persons. It is recommended that a non-disclosure agreement is signed each time before sharing any information with a third party, the disclosure of which would cause economic damage to the University and its members or business partners, or which could endanger the protection of intellectual property rights later on. It is important not to use this contract to assign intellectual property rights related to the disclosed information.

The material transfer agreement (MTA) enables us to exchange materials in order to implement research, estimate the interest in collaboration, test materials and create new intellectual property. By doing so, we prevent the use of materials for other purposes without permission, or disclosure of materials along with confidential information in relation to the properties of such materials to unauthorised persons or the public. The agreement must be signed before sending materials or other creations to the third party.

Students’ final theses

Such collaboration includes a particular feature in that the relationship between the faculty and the industrial partner involves the student, who has certain rights and obligations. The main purpose of such collaboration is to write a final thesis, which can simultaneously bring about results that are commercially viable and the use of which the participating industrial partner is interested in. Prior to any such collaboration, it is recommended to conclude a tripartite agreement between the University of Ljubljana, the industrial partner and the student in question.

Read our advice on successful collaboration with companies

Before the collaboration

  • Before disclosing confidential information to partners, sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Before beginning any collaboration with a company, sign a contract on collaboration.
  • In this, define the purpose of the collaboration, as well as the rights and obligations of the partners.
  • The contractual price should be the market price.
  • Use the contract to define the previous knowledge you will contribute.
  • If at all possible, the University should reserve the right to publish the results.

During the collaboration

  • Make sure the contract is implemented in line with the agreed-upon deadlines.
  • Make sure mutual communication runs smoothly.
  • Take care to protect your partner’s business secrets.
  • Make sure relationships with external colleagues and students participating in the project are in order.

After the collaboration

  • Return confidential documents and materials to the partner.
  • Protect your partner’s business secrets even after your collaboration has ended.
  • Provide the partner as a reference only if they have agreed that you can do so in writing.
  • Before publishing any project results, consider whether these results have commercial value on the market. If so, disclose them to the Knowledge Transfer Office, which will take care of the legal protection of the intellectual property before you publish them. Inform the partner of your intention to publish the results as contractually agreed.
  • Disclose to the Knowledge Transfer Office the invention that is created based on the collaboration, even if (according to the contract) the invention belongs to the partner.
More about intellectual property
“M SORA has worked with the University of Ljubljana researchers for a number of years, collaborating in numerous fields ranging from fundamental research and joint Slovenian and European projects, to diploma theses, conferences and articles. Collaboration enables us to access the knowledge our company lacks. It is safe to say that Slovenian universities are by no means lacking top-quality knowledge, and we have no need to look for it abroad. We are extremely happy about that. We are also pleased that an increasing number of faculties are interested in working with companies. Most collaborations have begun through common acquaintances, which led to joint projects. Through these, we can get to know one another both personally and professionally, learning about one another’s skills and capabilities. All this leads to the development of completely new products and processes, and solving highly specific daily problems. We are extremely happy with our collaboration partners and the success achieved by our joint projects.” – M SORA d.d.
M SORA d.d.
“The Faculty of Pharmacy has already been engaged in transferring research results for many years. However, our mutual recognisability and productivity have improved significantly since we began collaborating with the University of Ljubljana’s Knowledge Transfer Office. From the preliminary draft of results to the final implementation of patent protection or transfer to users, the Office provides us with the knowledge and services we researchers greatly need, but are not proficient in.”
Prof. Borut Štrukelj PhD
“What I most like about the Knowledge Transfer Office is their proactive approach, as it actively seeks partners and solutions and calls us, the researchers, once it finds them. The office helps my laboratory to expand Orange, arrange licences and seek potential clients. The most recent successful connection was one with a company called Wartsila, which has already commissioned us to implement courses in artificial intelligence and with which we hope to develop strategic cooperation.”
Prof. Blaž Zupan PhD
“We got in touch with the outstanding colleagues and partners at the Knowledge Transfer Office, and communicated with them regularly regarding the possibility of patenting innovations and sharing information about events at which connections between faculty researchers and people employed in the business sector can be fostered. By participating in Innovation Day we established contacts with various companies, which led to collaborations. Personally, I regard the Knowledge Transfer Office as an extremely important link between the University and the business sector, and would recommend all researchers with innovations to collaborate with it, as this provides an additional option of expanding one’s concept of innovation and protection thereof.”
Asist. David Antolinc PhD
“The researchers of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering and the National Institute of Chemistry have collaborated with the Knowledge Transfer Office to prepare a European patent application; the Office also helped us to successfully promote our innovation at Innovation Day and Start.IP in Vienna. What I appreciated most when working with the Knowledge Transfer Office was their responsiveness, organised approach, great professionalism and kindness. I would recommend working with the Office to all researchers and companies, as their knowledge and assistance in protecting intellectual property are of extreme importance.”
Assist. Jelena Vasiljević PhD
“The Knowledge Transfer Office of the University of Ljubljana functions highly pro-actively. It immediately responds to applications, seeks partners by itself, actively suggests improvements and establishes connections. This is an office we truly needed and we are extremely pleased with the results.”
Prof. Borut Štrukelj PhD
“The Knowledge Transfer Office is distinguished by great professionalism and responsiveness, coupled with a sincere wish to develop the field of knowledge transfer at the University of Ljubljana. I believe everyone at the University should be familiar with the key processes undertaken by the Office.” – Prof. Dr. Andrej Kos
Andrej Kos PhD
“We recommend all partners, researchers and faculties engaged in science, innovations and ideas to avail themselves of the services offered by the Knowledge Transfer Office of the University of Ljubljana. Only if we join forces can we progress from having an idea to entering the business sector.”
Prof. Borut Štrukelj PhD
“The Knowledge Transfer Office helped us prepare an international patent application for new biopesticides, and to get in contact with an international company with extensive expertise in plant protection. This company expressed interest in testing our biopesticides, and so we have recently signed an NDA. This result exceeds all our expectations. The Office has demonstrated a great deal of professionalism, extreme efficiency and willingness to assist whenever help was required. They have enabled us to achieve something I thought was practically impossible.”
Prof. Kristina Sepčič PhD

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Learn more about knowledge transfer at the University of Ljubljana


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Guide to knowledge transfer at the University of Ljubljana.

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