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Knowledge security

The purpose of knowledge security is to ensure that international (academic) collaboration can take place securely. It is about knowing and recognising the security risks.

International collaboration, attracting talented academics from all over the world and academic freedom are of great importance to VU Amsterdam. It is important in this context to focus attention on knowledge security.

It is based on the core values of academic freedom and scientific integrity. In principle, knowledge security is about preventing the undesirable transfer of sensitive knowledge and technology. Other aspects to be considered in relation to knowledge security are the covert influences on education and research by other states. Such interference poses a danger to academic freedom and security in society.

Finally, ethical matters relating to knowledge security can play a role in collaboration with countries that do not respect basic rights. Knowledge security is not something static: changing geopolitical attitudes can affect how (ongoing) collaborative partnerships are viewed. In recent years, the VU has taken a number of important steps regarding knowledge security:

  • The VU has a Knowledge Security Advisory Group.
  • A binding VU Knowledge Security Framework (since September 1, 2023).
  • For questions about knowledge security, employees can contact the knowledge security contact person of the relevant faculty or service. The contact persons have been trained by the VU Knowledge Security Advisory Group and can also consult the advisory group for advice.
  • The VU participates in national networks for knowledge exchange.
  • An information page for employees has been set up on (see the bottom of the page) and there is ongoing attention to awareness.

It is important that initiatives on knowledge security are continued and that they become, as much as possible, a regular part of the processes at the university. That is why in the coming years work will continue on implementing the VU Knowledge Security Framework (for entering into new or extending existing partnerships) and on raising awareness, and why guidelines and measures will be devised as part of the continued development of knowledge security policies. These guidelines and measures have been and are being developed in the areas of entering into (international) collaborations, appointing employees*, foreign travel and access policies. Dutch universities are working collectively on this matter.

*When appointing new employees, it is important to take matters such as an (pre-)employment screening into account. The internal employee page focuses on when and how this screening takes place and what the role of managers is in this.

Read more about knowledge security for VU employees. National information regarding knowledge security can be found via National Knowledge Security Guidelines - and National Contact Point for Knowledge Security.