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New push for responsible internationalisation in the EU and Norway

On 6 December, the European Commission published a call for evidence “Boosting research security in the EU (guidance)”, with the deadline of 3 January 2024. The Commission requires this evidence to draft a proposal for a Council recommendation on measures to improve research security by raising awareness and building resilience among EU researchers and academics in line with its Global approach to R&I (COM(2021)252) and the Staff working document on Tackling R&I foreign Interference (SWD(2022)12). Research security is linked to tackling possible risks related to the international nature of scientific research and technological development, such as undesirable transfer of knowledge, foreign interference, and ethical or integrity violations.  

In parallel, the European Commission published the results of its earlier call for expressions of interest to participate in one of the following five working groups on a related topic of science diplomacy, attracting a total of 575 applications:  

  • WG1: Using science diplomacy strategically to tackle geopolitical challenges in a fragmented, multipolar world 
  • WG2: Making European diplomacy more strategic, effective and resilient through scientific evidence and foresight 
  • WG3: Strengthening science diplomacy in Delegations and Embassies and fostering the EU’s global science diplomacy outreach 
  • WG4: Building capacity for European science diplomacy 
  • WG5: Cross-cutting group on definition, principles and EU added value of European science diplomacy 

The full list of selected experts, including those from ACA member DAAD, can be consulted here. 

ACA members have been paying close attention to the topic of responsible internationalisation both individually and as part of the association. In December, the ACA thematic peer group “Global developments” kick started a new series of meetings dedicated to this issue, with the aim to exchange experience and identify good practices at the national and institutional level by mapping various efforts including national and European guidance, changes in funding programmes and criteria, as well as the institutional strategies and operational responses on the ground. This work will continued in 2024, building on ACA’s discussions on sensible openness of Europe’s international cooperation in higher education and research as well as a series of Think Pieces on European higher education cooperation in a global context opened by an article authored by ACA President Ulrich Grothus. 

Similarly, knowledge security in the international context has been high on the agenda in ACA members’ countries, including Germany (e.g., see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, December 2020), Finland (e.g., see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, August 2022), the Netherlands, and Sweden (e.g., ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, May 2023). 

Recently, Norway has translated their Guidelines and Tools for Responsible International Knowledge Cooperation in English (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, August 2023). The Norwegian guidelines provide an overview of both national and international laws and regulations that the Norwegian research and education sector need to adhere to. The report also gathers existing tools and resources in Norway. Unlike other European guidelines that focus primarily on research and innovation activities, this resource also addresses international cooperation in higher education, including student mobility and partnership agreements. 

This topic will be addressed at the upcoming ACA What’s new in Brussels seminar building on the most recent discussions.