On Wednesday 17 January 2018, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (Dutch name: Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties, BZK) and Utrecht University signed an agreement. With this agreement, they strive for more synergy between policy development and research in the field of institutions and society.
In concrete terms, this means that both parties will collaborate in strengthening the knowledge infrastructure and the mutual exchange of knowledge. They hope that this collaboration will improve the role of institutions in the contribution to long-term prosperity, democracy, equality and economical development.
Institutions for Open Societies
The specific collaboration with the research theme Institutions for Open Societies is a remarkable, important strategic theme of Utrecht University. This research field operates on a multidisciplinary level and unites excellent Utrecht-based research. On the one hand, the collaboration offers BZK valuable new insights in policy development. On the other hand, it offers UU researchers opportunities to connect with societal partners. This enables them to let their research connect more to societal issues, and to let results from fundamental research find their way to practical applications.
To BZK, the agreement with Utrecht University is the first in an intended series with other universities, universities of applied sciences and other knowledge institutions. It is the result of BZK's wish to bring policy and science closer together with the goal to raise the quality of public governance.
“It's wonderful that the university and the ministry will collaborate more closely. The institutions - laws, customs, networks, organisations, languages, etc. - make or break the realisation of an open, democratic and equal society. This agreement enables policy and multidisciplinary top-level research in the Netherlands to amplify each other even more,” says Annetje Ottow, Vice-President of Utrecht University's Executive Board.
Both parties strive for a strong infrastructure and an intensive exchange of knowledge. In the agreement, a number of arrangements are made for this. This includes a commitment to exchange knowledge and innovation agendas and to actively involve each other in strategic policy and research choices. The parties will focus on broad alliance formations between governments, knowledge institutions and corporations, in which research into the approach to societal issues takes centre stage.
One recent expression of this collaboration is an essay on new forms of regional guidance. In this essay, the question if and how regional guidance can contribute to the solution of public problems is answered from the perspective of various disciplinary angles (such as economics, law, geography and ethics).
This agreement came into effect the day after it was signed and will be effective until at least 31 December 2021.
Intention statement Sustainability
On 10 April 2015, Utrecht University and the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment signed an intention statement. That was with the goal to intensify the collaboration relationship in the field of the strategic theme Sustainability.