Commission a thesis or a project

Commissioning a thesis or a project is a great opportunity to utilise the latest scientific knowledge and the University’s expertise.

Commission a thesis

You can advertise thesis projects on the JobTeaser service or by contacting the University’s Career Services at The conditions of the thesis commission are jointly agreed with the student and their thesis supervisor.

What should be taken into consideration?

  • Research topic and its scope
    • When considering a topic and its scope, it is advisable to leave some flexibility, as assignments aim to strike a balance between your desires and the scientific requirements of the discipline.
    • Thesis work is primarily done for the student’s faculty. The student must get their research topic and scope approved by the thesis supervisor.
    • Thesis assignments must always be conducted with the same objectivity and unbiased approach as any other research.
  • Realistic schedule:
    • The academic supervision of the thesis follows a timeline, which may affect a student’s ability to complete the assignment. Typically, the faculty/subject reserves a certain period of time for thesis work (e.g. one academic year).
    • The schedule should be discussed and agreed upon, taking into account the different steps of the work.
  • Reporting and copyright:
    • Do you want a separate report on the research or does the thesis work as the report?
    • If the research material contains confidential business or professional secrets, two versions of the thesis can be written. The public version will leave out identifying information or information that needs to remain confidential.
    • The student holds the copyright for the thesis work.
  • Responsibilities:
    • What materials does the thesis writer need from the commissioning party?
    • Does the thesis writer receive guidance from the commissioning party? Who will act as contact person?
    • The client should name a contact person who the student can approach. The final result is often better if the student and the contact person regularly discuss the progress of the work.
  • Compensation or payment:
    • The student can be paid a salary or a fee for the thesis work.

The contract for the thesis commission

A written contract must be made for a thesis commission. The parties to the contract are at least the commissioner and the student doing the thesis. In some situations, it is also possible for the thesis academic supervisor to be a party to the contract. The contract concerns a pre-defined research work and its results.

Matters to agree

  • The topic of the thesis/work that is agreed to be done.
  • The compensation or salary that will be paid for the work.
  • The payment schedule and the terms related to its payment (e.g. paid when the final report is complete or monthly pay).
  • The planned schedule. Additionally, it may be mentioned that any changes to the schedule or topic must be negotiated with the representative of the contracting parties.
  • The obligations of the organization: for example, the obligation to provide the student with the material they need and to appoint a supervisor for the work.
  • The public disclosure of the work: the possible withholding of certain parts of the thesis for a specified period. It is advisable to confirm this with the contracting party during the negotiations, as the faculty’s consent is required for this.
  • The student’s obligation to not disclose any trade secrets they have become privy to. If the agreement includes such a provision, it is advisable to clarify what it means with regard to the publication of the work.
  • The organization’s rights to use the research and the possible copyright issues.
  • Reporting on the results (interim reports, possible presentations, slide shows).

Salary or trade income the work

A student can be paid either a salary (wage) or a trade income for the commissioned thesis work. There should always be a contract regarding the compensation. Faculties and departments as well as labour unions may have their own recommendations regarding compensation. Therefore, the student should always discuss matters related to commissioned theses with their own department staff.


Employment relationship is the recommended funding option for a thesis commissioned by an external party. In this case, the commissioner and the student enter into an employment contract. It is a normal fixed-term employment relationship, and its taxation follow that of regular employment. The completion of the thesis is the basis for the fixed-term nature of the relationship.

The employer typically obtains the rights to the research results. Therefore, it would be advisable to include in the employment contract that the student is allowed to publish the research as a thesis.

Before committing to an employment contract, the student should discuss the commission and its terms with their thesis supervisor.

Trade income for work

Research funded by trade income is typically independent in nature. The student provides their tax card for trade income to the commissioning party, who withholds taxes from the compensation to be paid. However, the commissioning party does not need to pay social security contributions.

The commissioning party must also reimburse expenses incurred for the research (e.g., material or travel costs).

Reimbursement of expenses

If no other salary or remuneration for work is paid, the costs incurred by the contractor are often reimbursed, such as material costs, postage, travel expenses, and printing costs. It is advisable to agree on all acceptable costs in writing in advance.

Costs are reimbursed against receipts. Mailings, copies, and phone interviews can often be handled within the company/organization.

Scholarship or grant

A scholarship or grant is a non-compensatory act, and the donor of the scholarship does not receive financial benefit from the research. This means that as the recipient of the scholarship, you do not make an agreement with the donor.

If the commissioner benefits financially from the research, a scholarship is not suitable as a form of compensation, and instead, an employment relationship is the best option.

However, companies and organizations can support scientific work and studying at universities through donations. If a company or organization wishes to support the university with a scholarship, the scholarship must be donated to the university by a deed of gift.

Commission a project

University Partner is a joint service of the higher education institutions in Turku and it assists in planning project collaboration. University Partner also offers help and new ideas for research projects, product development and other operations regardless of your company’s line of business. The project tailored to your company is carried out in collaboration with one or several universities.

More information: University Partner

Contact: Antti Tuomisto