The UvA will not enter into any new research collaboration with Shell or similar companies for the time being. In recent weeks there have been demonstrations at various universities, including the UvA, against ties between universities and the fossil industry. The Executive Board now first wants to have a conversation about this with students and staff.
The UvA is involved in four projects in which Shell is also one of the parties. These are studies aimed at clean energy, better analysis methods, or a better environment. Critics regard Shell's input as greenwashing and believe that all ties with polluting companies should be severed, even when it comes to “green” research. They mostly consider such research as greenwashing. On the other hand, there are others who believe that this type of research makes a valuable contribution to the energy transition.
The UvA is considering how and with whom to collaborate. To this end, a UvA-wide discussion will be organized soon involving as many students and employees as possible. Until this discussion is concluded and agreements are made within the UvA, the university will no longer initiate research with the support of fossil fuel companies. The four ongoing projects will not be discontinued, as PhD students and researchers who have made agreements in consortia, are also working on them.
In a press statement today, the UvA announced that it “will not work” on research that contributes to the exploration or production of fossil energy. “We do not receive money from the fossil industry for scientific conferences, for travel by scientists, or for scholarships. We have no chairs paid for by the fossil industry. UvA’s research agenda is focused on the transition to sustainable energy,” the statement said. The UvA further announces that it will contribute to the energy transition in research, education, and operations. “UvA scientists conduct high-quality research in this area: from sustainable chemistry to green life sciences, and the from Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics to Energy transitions through the lens of the SDGs.”