Nurture an open and internationally oriented science system

May 02, 2024

The Young Academy endorses the Academy's recent statement ‘Research knows no borders: Preserve the open science system.’ In its statement, the Academy argues that international research talent should be nurtured while pursuing a well-considered language policy.

In Dutch

International research collaboration and an open science system are important for Dutch science and society and for the economy of the Netherlands:  

  1. The Academy calls for the preservation of an open and internationally oriented science system. This is a system that is attractive and accessible for both Dutch and international talents and that is aligned with the society and labour market of the future.
  2. An open science system thrives best when situated in a climate that attracts international researchers and students. Dutch researchers can only advance by sharing knowledge and expertise and collaborating with top scientists the world over.
  3. The language of instruction used in study programmes plays an important role in this context and is an issue that requires thoughtful, meaningful debate. Academic education that is internationally oriented therefore helps to strengthen research.

This aligns with The Young Academy’s earlier position statement on Language in Higher Education and Internationalisation (published 16 November 2023), which it issued in response to the Internationalisation in Balance (Wet internationalisering in balans) bill introduced by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science. The purpose of the bill is twofold: to preserve and improve the use of Dutch in the Netherlands’ higher education system, and to manage the influx of international students to Dutch universities. 

Universities: Consider your international staff and students 

The current version of the bill gives the universities control over how they will go about implementing the act. In other words, the universities bear a crucial responsibility to nurture the open and international nature of the Dutch science system and to ensure that international staff feel welcome and appreciated. 

It is the latter point that The Young Academy finds particularly worrisome. Its members have observed that international researchers and students are becoming increasingly concerned about their future in Dutch academia. That is why we are asking universities to consider their international staff and students and the vital contribution they make to education and research in the Netherlands. Consequently, we call on them to (a) create a climate that is attractive for international talents, including their current international staff, and (b) communicate transparently about the language of instruction in their study programmes, with sound reasons being offered for the choice of language based on subject- and programme-specific arguments.

A close eye on implementation

The Young Academy intends to keep a close eye on the act’s implementation, in keeping with its commitment to promoting an international and inclusive academic world and the wellbeing of our international students and colleagues. 



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