Universities cancel all partnerships with Russia and Belarus

Research universities, universities of applied sciences, and teaching hospitals will cancel their partnerships with educational and knowledge institutes in Russia and Belarus for the time being.

This means no financial transactions will take place and no data or knowledge will be exchanged. Any joint (academic) events have also been cancelled and participants from Russian and Belarusian institutes will be excluded.

No new collaborative projects will be started and researchers from Russian or Belarusian institutes will no longer be welcome as consultants or committee members to assess research proposals.

Urgent call

The decision follows an ‘urgent call’ by education minister Dijkgraaf due to the invasion of Ukraine. The call to sever all ties became louder over the past few days, both within universities and outside of them. Germany and Denmark made the decision earlier last week.

Several days ago, the UG and other educational institutes also froze their ties with all non-university institutes in Russia and Belarus.

In a statement, overarching organisation Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) says it’s deeply shocked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ‘This is a direct attack on freedom and democracy, the fundamental values that academic freedom and collaboration are founded on.’


Dutch research universities, universities of applied sciences, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, research financier NWO, and teaching hospitals are engaged in dozens of formal partnerships with Russia and Belarus.

Currently, Dutch research universities and universities of applied sciences have approximately nine hundred Ukrainian, 1,650 Russian, and a handful of Belarusian students. They employ hundreds of staff members from the three countries.

The UG records show forty-three Ukrainian students and 105 Russian ones. There are sixteen employees from Ukraine and twenty-nine from Russia.

According to the UNL, the Russian and Belarusian students, lecturers, and researchers currently in the Netherlands will be allowed to stay. Dutch students, lecturers, and researchers currently in Russia and Belarus are strongly advised to return to the Netherlands if they’re able to do so safely.

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