Donation and gift policy

Karolinska Institutet’s rules on the acceptance of donations

Ref. no:1516/2008-010

Karolinska Institutet has made crucial contributions to medical advances through its research. New discoveries and new techniques mean that there are great opportunities today for medical research to solve many of the challenges humanity has grappled with for centuries. Karolinska Institutet is one of the leading international players in this development, but further resources are required if we are to be able to contribute to vital medical breakthroughs with renewed vigour and intensity.

Karolinska Institutet has found that there is profound interest in and commitment to our areas of research among private individuals, business and organisations, who wish to improve the opportunities for new research breakthroughs by making financial gifts. The generous support of our benefactors enhances the ability of Karolinska Institutet to attain its goal of improving human health through research and education.

The present rules define the legal and ethical basis for Karolinska Institutet’s cooperation with benefactors and are intended to ensure that the interests and integrity of the parties involved, Karolinska Institutet and benefactors, are safeguarded.

1. The concept of donation

A donation is defined in the Donations Ordinance (1998:140) as any kind of transfer of property to an authority by gift or legacy which takes place without a requirement for any service or benefit in return and where the property does not constitute a foundation.

The terms "donation", "gift" and "contribution" are used synonymously in the present rules.

2. Fundamental principles

Acceptance and administration by Karolinska Institutet of donations is governed by the Donations Ordinance (1998:140) and provisions and general guidelines based thereon.

Karolinska Institutet shall follow the ordinances and guidelines indicated above when considering entering into agreements with benefactors.

In addition, Karolinska Institutet’s description of its objective – to improve human health through research and education – shall constitute the basis on which a decision is taken on whether a donation can be accepted.

It follows from the description of objectives that a donation shall be compatible with, and contribute to promoting, accomplishment of the objectives. A donation shall thus not serve a purpose, or come from a source, which may in some way clash with the objectives of Karolinska Institutet. It follows that accepted donations have to come from named sources.

In addition, the academic autonomy of Karolinska Institutet is a fundamental prerequisite for accomplishment of the objectives. A donation shall thus not have conditions attached which may affect the academic freedom, integrity or independence of Karolinska Institutet or its ability to fulfil its assignment in a correct and impartial manner.

In order to ensure that the intentions in the description of objectives are fulfilled, Karolinska Institutet has established internal processes in the Rules on Delegation relating to examination, acceptance and management of donations.
The internal ethical and other policies and guidelines of Karolinska Institutet on collaboration with external parties are indicated below, and shall be complied with in applicable cases in taking decisions on whether to accept a donation:

  • Ethical guidelines on acceptance of assignments and grants which may impair public trust, Senate decision dated 22.02.2002,
  • Recommendations on collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and business (ref. no. 3195/03-600).
  • Policy regarding donated professorships or other services (ref. no. 1703/01-100).

The distribution of received funds (see 3. Forms of donation) is governed by the following:

  • Administrative and decision-making rules for the Board of Research in its role as a faculty board on foundation-related matters.
  • Delegating of decisions on experts/review board for preparation of proposals for decisions on the distribution of funds, Board of Higher Education: Minutes 2003:4 Item 12.

3. Forms of donation

Donations may be given for:

  1. A specific purpose such as infrastructure or equipment or as a donation to a specific project, department or unit.
  2. A specific area of research, for example cancer or microbiology, or for educational work
  3. An unspecified donation to Karolinska Intitutet

In cases 2 and 3 the distribution of funds shall be decided by the board concerned in accordance with established routines and procedures.