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 the case of collaboration with countries that do not respect basic rights. Knowledge security is not something static: changing geopolitical attitudes can affect how collaborative partnerships are viewed. In 2022, VU Amsterdam took a number of important steps regarding knowledge security:
- The Executive Board set up a VU advisory group on knowledge security.
- A programme manager was appointed to implement the recommendations in the ‘Nationale Leidraad Kennisveiligheid’ (national knowledge security guidelines).
- Stock was taken throughout the university of potentially risky international collaborative relationships.
- VU Amsterdam is part of the national knowledge exchange network, including Universities of the Netherlands (UNL).
- In the autumn, VU Amsterdam organised a wide-ranging knowledge security meeting for the UNL network and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
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 2023 work will continue on the VU Amsterdam 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 will be developed for the purpose of entering into collaborative partnerships (international or otherwise), appointing employees, foreign travel and access policies. Dutch universities are working collectively on this matter.
Read more about knowledge security for VU employees.