Industry Liaison

Enactment of Internal Rules for Fee-Based Data Transfer Agreements

In order to accelerate digital transformation in research activities and industry, Tokyo Institute of Technology has established internal rules for transferring research data that is not intellectual property (copyrighted works) but has equivalent economic value to intellectual property to companies for a fee. The background to the establishment of the internal rules and an outline of the internal rules are described here.


Digital Transformation of Research Activities

In recent years, the use of big data, AI, and other so-called digital technologies has brought about new value and innovation, which is known as digital transformation (DX), and has made significant progress in research activities. There have been many reports on the results of using methods such as Machine Learning, Bayesian estimation, and Data Synchronization in various research fields, which had been conducted based on researchers' intuition, prediction, and the accumulation of a large number of experiments.

In order to accelerate DX in research activities, data and the techniques to utilize it are essential, so collaboration among researchers and mechanisms to share data are important. In the field of life sciences, Kyoto University has established LINC, an AI drug discovery platform, as a representative organization. In the field of materials science, the Materials Data Platform Center has been established at NIMS, and researchers are promoting collaboration.

Digital Transformation in the Industry

Business revolution through DX is actively underway in the industry as well, and since companies are limited in their ability to utilize DX on their own, it has become essential for companies that possess digital technology and companies that want to use digital technology to collaborate across fields. In response to this, the government has revised laws related to intellectual property from the perspective of data protection and use, and has also been preparing guidelines for contracts between companies and other entities regarding the use of data. This trend is spreading to industry-academia collaboration from companies to universities.

Strengthening Industry-Academia Collaboration (Development of Regulations)

Up to now, Tokyo Institute of Technology has licensed intellectual property rights, such as Databases and Programs, to companies through the establishment of internal rules. However, there are no internal rules governing the handling of data that does not fall under intellectual property rights, even if it has economic value, as part of industry-academia collaboration, So researchers have only open the data acquired in the course of their research for use within the scope of research purposes by indicating the conditions of use using Creative Commons, etc.

In response to the needs of researchers and companies that actively promote industry-academia collaboration, Tokyo Institute of Technology has been studying the handling internal rules for transferring research data that is not intellectual property but has equivalent economic value to intellectual property to companies for a fee, and has now established the internal rules.

Key Points of the Internal Rules for Fee-Based Data Transfer Agreements with Corporations

  • When a company, etc. requests the use (for a fee) of research data (that do not fall under the category of copyrighted works), the researcher must notify the university, and the university must conclude a contract with the company for the use (for a fee) of the data, in order to obtain compensation for the use of the data.
  • As in the past, researchers are not prevented from providing data free of charge to researchers outside the university or making it widely available as part of their research activities, as long as they do not violate any laws or agreements with third parties such as NDA(no notification is required).
  • A portion of the income obtained in exchange for the permission to use the data will be granted to the laboratory as research expenses.