Start, run and develop a company

Starting and running a company as an employee

In order to enable cooperation with society, researchers and teachers associated with university colleges and universities have plenty of opportunities to have secondary occupations. Secondary occupations are when an employee has work alongside their employment, as long as the occupation does not directly involve the employee’s private life. One form of secondary occupation is to start and run a company alongside being employed by Karolinska Institutet.

At Karolinska Institutet, all forms of secondary occupation are normally permitted and encouraged. Working with outward-looking activities parallel with research and teaching can help the dispersion and utilisation of the knowledge produced at the educational institute. University teachers and researchers are therefore permitted, alongside their regular employment, to have a secondary occupation, assignment or carry out activities that relate to research or development work within the higher education institute’s subject area, for example within the employee’s own or another person’s company (so-called R&D secondary occupations). This is conditional upon the person – by means
of his or her external work – not causing harm to the public confidence in the objectivity and the legitimacy of Karolinska Institutet’s activities (secondary occupations that my damage confidence).

Neither shall work for the company impair the employee’s capacity to carry out his or her regular tasks (secondary occupation that inpends work) or compete with the University’s own assignments (competing secondary occupation). Work for the company shall be kept clearly separate from the employee’s regular work for Karolinska Institutet.
Karolinska Institutet’s brand or the University’s other resources may therefore not be utilised in the business operations.

Starting a business - Cooperation between Karolinska Institutet and employees’ own companies (PDF)

Secondary occupations
Karolinska Institutet annually collects information on the employees’ secondary occupations, including involvement and participation in companies. Secondary occupations are subsequently approved by the Head of Department or equivalent.
Changes related to secondary occupations shall intermittently be reported to the HR Department at KI.

Cooperation between Karolinska Institutet and employees’ own companies

Situations may occur where there is an opportunity for Karolinska Institutet to enter into cooperation with companies that are wholly or partly owned by an employee – or where the employee has own financial (or other) interests. In order to maintain confidence in Karolinska Institutet and protect its independence, the following applies:
• The employee with a stake in the company, in the form of ownership, position on the board or similar, may not in any way represent Karolinska Institutet in negotiations with the company relating to cooperation.
• All financial agreements with such companies require the approval of the Vice-Chancellor or a person authorised by the Vice-Chancellor to make decisions (in the delegation regulations).
• In such situations, it is also extremely important to ensure that the scope and conditions for the assignments are so well-balanced that the independence and impartiality of researchers (including doctoral students) are protected, and that prevailing guidelines for partiality and secondary occupations are followed.

As for all forms of cooperation between educational institutes and companies, it is important to form an agreement regulating the cooperation. This is of particular importance when it comes to cooperation with companies where the employee has a stake. The Vice-Chancellor’s decision-making and delegation regulations specify which decision-makers (for example Head of Department or University Director) are authorised to sign such agreements. Agreements to be signed by the University Director shall always be inspected by Karolinska Institutet’s lawyers. Normally, researchers involved are not entitled to sign agreements on behalf of Karolinska Institutet.
If you have questions concerning secondary occupations, contact Karolinska Institutets HR Department. Documents relating to regulations for secondary occupations are available on Karolinska Institutet’s employee portal.

Content reviewer:
Kia Olsson