Four guiding principles for the Global Framework for S&T Cooperation

Our Board of Directors has adopted a position ‘Guiding principles for Global Framework for S&T Cooperation` offering four guiding principles for governments, international organisations and other partners to consider.
7th April 2022
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LEUVEN, 7 April 2022

The leading universities of Science and Technology (S&T) united within CESAER today publish our position ‘Guiding principles for Global Framework for S&T Cooperation’ building on our March 2021 position on the global approach to 'Go beyond resilience to tackle local and global challenges'.

Universities, students, academics and other staff are key agents of great change and transformation in advancing knowledge societies for a prosperous, sustainable and peaceful future. As S&T have played determining roles in past wars and also in science diplomacy, we highlight that some academics and academic institutions assume societal responsibility in helping to defend and enforce peace and the rule of international law. We emphasise that governments and international organisations must empower academics and academic institutions taking on this responsibility to be thoughtful and nuanced whilst applying discretion and diligence, and must refrain from sanctioning academics and students solely on the basis of nationality.

With this position, we respond to the ‘Marseille Declaration on International Cooperation in R&I’, seek to advance the Global Framework for S&T Cooperation, and offer four guiding principles for governments, international organisations and other partners to consider:

  1. Adhere to universal values;
  2. Put global goals at the framework’s centre and promote openness;
  3. Maintain civilian focus in Horizon Europe and related programmes;
  4. Seek, associate and cherish close allies in S&T cooperation.

President Rik Van de Walle said:

“The increasing tensions, conflicts and even war between countries such as the one in Ukraine force us to adopt an approach staying true to universal values, and being willing and able to vigorously help defend and enforce them.

With this position, we urge states, international organisations and other partners to enable universities, academics and their leaders to have important agency in actively defending and promoting universal values, even when their governments are on the wrong path.

In S&T cooperation, we must adopt a long-term perspective even in the darkest times, as we in academia are to maintain and build bridges across conflicts to help ensure we come out of the darkness as soon as possible.”

Vice-President and Co-Chair of Task Force Openness of Science & Technology Jennifer Herek said:

“We express our deepest concerns about the suffering in Ukraine and call upon governments, international organisations and other partners to adopt a long term perspective and invest in academic capacity to build and maintain bridges supporting peace, the rule of international law, reconciliation amongst people, and inclusion of all parties in tackling local and global challenges.

Generous support and simplified administrative procedures are urgently needed to help scholars and students affected by conflict and war, including those fleeing from oppressor and aggressor regimes.”

Secretary General David Bohmert said:

“Conflict and war such as the one in Ukraine pose enormous local and global threats and jeopardise global security and stability, which is the context for the debate on the Global Framework for S&T Cooperation. We reiterate our condemnation of this invasion in strongest terms. We also suspended the membership of the Tomsk Polytechnic University for having committed an infringement of the common values of our association following its stated support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

With this position, we seek to bring our values and principle to ‘adopt a global perspective in all our work’ into practice and empower our Members when conducting excellent science and developing cutting edge technology, educating next generations (of leaders), nurturing independence of thought, and assuring ethical and trusted behaviour of academics, students and other staff, thus fostering trust of societies.”

Deputy Secretary General Mattias Björnmalm said:

“To support and engage with academics and students across the world, we should pursue ‘outwards looking and leading’ as the default for global S&T collaboration. Therefore we should depart from ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. We know there are instances where knowledge safety concerns are important and indeed justify ‘closedness’.

This balance - between openness and closedness - warrants active engagement, and this engagement is crucial to ensure that core academic values such as scientific integrity, academic freedom and institutional autonomy are not lost within the debates on knowledge safety and export control.”

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For more information and enquiries, please contact our Secretary General David Bohmert or our Deputy Secretary General Mattias Björnmalm.

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