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Think along with us about international collaboration

Published on 01-07-2024
Events surrounding the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the UvA's response to the war, have sparked a new discussion about the University's collaboration with third parties. Join us this week to actively think through the ethical and moral aspects of international scientific collaboration.
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The UvA academic community is divided on whether and how the UvA should respond when it comes to collaborations with partners in countries or regions in conflict. Against this backdrop, it has become clear that the current framework does not fully cater for decision-making on a number of important issues regarding international collaborations.

In response to the current debate, a broad academic working group is drafting possible additions to the existing policy framework. This was established in 2022 following discussions on knowledge security. Various criteria were developed regarding  research collaboration, which prompts the question of whether educational collaboration — such as student exchanges — should also be included. Currently, the evaluation framework only applies to projects and not to institution-level collaborations. Moreover, it currently pertains only to new collaborations, raising the question of whether it should also cover existing partnerships.

Weighing perspectives

The Executive Board and the deans are fully aware that expanding the evaluation framework may not directly address the concerns held by those who are critical of collaboration with Israeli research groups and universities. At the same time, there are also people within our community who have doubts about the usefulness of a boycott of all organizations from a country, as this also limits exchanges with colleagues who engage in critical scientific debate. Furthermore, suspending collaboration at this level could conflict with academic freedom. The working group is tasked with carefully considering both perspectives.


To ensure a thorough consideration and provide a well-founded recommendation, the working group is gathering input from as many students and staff members as possible. Following a series of roundtable discussions across all faculties, an online town hall meeting was held on 24 June. This week, from 1-5 July, everyone can provide input via Denk MeeExternal link. The working group invites students and staff to respond to the document presented on the platform.

Next steps

Based on all information and input received, the working group will soon provide initial advice to the Executive Board, to be discussed on 9 July. The timeline and format for a final recommendation will then be determined by the working group, for which they will take into account all contributions and the initial response from the administration. Regardless, there will be another opportunity for the entire academic community to contribute their thoughts in the future.

Think along with us about international collaborationExternal link