Knowledge Security: Academic Freedom in Geopolitical Contexts


‘Knowledge security’ (kennisveiligheid in Dutch) has been increasingly used in the discourse about international research collaboration. Knowledge security can be described as ‘preventing the undesirable transfer of sensitive knowledge and technology’. Following the Dutch government’s announcement to strengthen knowledge security, the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL/VSNU) developed its guidelines to assist universities. In 2022, the National Knowledge Security Guidelines were issued for Dutch universities and other knowledge institutions. While knowledge security is a multi-faceted term, it has also appeared at an EU-level publication in connection to ‘foreign interference’.

Against this background, this dialogue seminar will take a critical look at the concept and implications of knowledge security in universities. How is ‘security’ constructed, in the past and present geopolitical contexts, and what is included and excluded? How can universities protect ‘knowledge security’ while safeguarding relevant norms and values, including academic freedom, non-discrimination, and, more broadly, the EU’s openness?


  • 15.00-15.05  Introduction & welcome
  • 15.05-15.45  Ingrid d’Hooghe (Clingendael) – Knowledge security policies around the globe: challenges and best practices (Chair & commentator Peter Weijland (TU Delft)
  • 16.00-17.00  Panel discussion: Cong-rui Qiao (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), David Snetselaar (UU), Arthur Gwagwa (UU)

The event is organised by Machiko Kanetake (UU) and supported by Gerda Henkel Stiftung, as part of the activities of Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE) (Building Block on EU value-based trade) and IOS platform ‘Openness Challenged: The University at Risk?’.

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Belle van Zuylenzaal, Academiegebouw (Domplein 29), Utrecht

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