Utrecht University also tightening requirements for working with fossil industry
The University of Utrecht (UU) intends to only enter into research collaborations with companies and organizations in the fossil fuel industry if they are “intensively and demonstrably committed to accelerating the energy transition, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.” The UU then wants to provide "clear guidelines." These will apply to research, teaching, and activities of study associations.
UU is not the first Dutch university to subject collaboration with companies like Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil to climate conditions. The Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam already tightened its policy in April, and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) followed in mid-July with similar criteria to those now proposed by the UU. However, activist students who repeatedly occupied university buildings do not consider this approach sufficient. They believe that universities should cut all ties with fossil fuel companies.
Other universities are also developing guidelines for collaborating with oil and gas industry companies. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) outlined the dilemmas involved earlier this month. President of the Executive Board, Sjoukje Heimovaara, then stated that there is no "simple, one-dimensional answer" to the question of how universities can best shape collaboration with fossil partners. According to her, companies can either accelerate or delay the necessary transitions.
At UU, it will also be assessed whether collaboration with a fossil partner for a project “is necessary or whether or not a more sustainable partner is also possible.” The university previously published a list of ongoing projects in collaboration with companies active in the field of fossil fuels. However, this list remained incomplete, as for various projects, UU could not share the content and the amounts because it had been agreed upon with the respective companies.
Reporting by ANP