University of Twente starts committee to review collaborations with fossil industry

The University of Twente establishes a committee to assess research projects on their contribution to climate goals. The committee will check whether collaborations with partners in the fossil industry and energy sector do not have a negative impact on achieving the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement. The new committee will start at the beginning of the 2024/2025 academic year. 

Starting the committee is a result of the Sustainability Dialogues organised by UT in 2023. The University of Twente feels a great responsibility to contribute to a sustainable world. Collaboration with partners who are not committed to achieving climate goals and research projects that encourage the use of fossil fuels does not fit in with this responsibility. Earlier, in November 2023, the University of Twente published a statement calling on its collaboration partners to commit to the Paris Agreement. By setting up the new committee, the university is taking the next step to secure this condition.  

Read the statement: UT calls on collaboration partners to commit to Paris Agreement

The committee will consist of (in alphabetical order) Prof. Dr.  Ciano Aydin  (BMS), Ir.  Rob Lammertink  (TNW), Prof. Dr.  Maroeska Rovers  (TechMed Centre), Prof.  Mina Shahi  (ET) and Mr. Ir.  Jaap Zevenbergen  (ITC). In addition to these permanent members, the committee can ask experts for support on specific cases. 

Way of working 

The committee will assess all new or renewed collaborations of UT researchers with the fossil industry. First and foremost, the researcher’s own considerations for entering a collaboration with a particular partner and the expected impact are important. It is not the case that certain potential partners are excluded in advance. In the coming months, the committee will develop a format with which it will assess potential partners and projects. 

After its start in September, the committee will begin assessing requests for collaboration, gradually refining the format (learning by doing) to arrive at the right choices. The committee’s assessment is advisory: the decision on whether to start a project ultimately lies with the dean of the faculty where the researcher concerned is employed. The committee will publish an annual public report on its work. 

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