Legal Forms for Data Trustees (ReFo_DaT)

Data trustees are seen as a key element to facilitate and intensify data sharing between enterprises, public authorities/government agencies, research institutions as well as non-profit organizations. Currently, there are many attempts to develop data trustees in various sectors/data domains. These projects reveal an impressive variety of organizational configurations regarding operator constellations and differing types of data trustees. However, the concrete design of their corporate structure poses complex legal challenges. There is hardly any experience and scientific evidence about the optimal design of such data intermediaries. Hereby, it is important to take into consideration the heterogenous preferences and needs of data users and data suppliers as well as the specific requirements of different sectors and data domains.

Against this background the research project Refo_DaT examines different legal forms and design options concerning governance and operation of differing types of data trustees. Existing data trustee projects will be surveyed with regard to their specific needs. A decision matrix, backed by legal analyses and enriched by practical examples, will be developed to guide the selection and design of a suitable legal form as well as sustainable governance structures and business models for data trustees of different types and in different operator constellations. Likewise, prototypical governance concepts and articles of association/company statutes are provided as aid to orientation.

ReFo_DaT combines legal analyses and structured expert interviews to clarify the numerous and complex legal issues associated with the choice of legal form and the design of sustainable governance structures. Thus, the research project contributes to the further development of the concept of “data trustees”. The transfer of research results into practice is ensured by workshops and the publication of guidelines.

The research project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the European Union.

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Petra Gehring, Technische Universität Darmstadt | more information
Prof. Dr. Florian Möslein, LL. M. (London), Philipps-Universität Marburg | more information
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Omlor, LL.M. (NYU), LL.M. Eur., Philipps-Universität Marburg | more information

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