International Affairs

Academic Cooperation Under Complex Conditions

Modern science and education require international networking to tackle and find reliable solutions to global challenges. At the same time, trends can be observed worldwide that are making international cooperation increasingly difficult. Whether due to reasons of general security or the influence in authoritarian ruled countries on the freedom of science and its systematic restriction, researchers and teachers are increasingly confronted with the following question: How can international cooperation in challenging situations be organized in a cooperative and competent manner without violating one's own basic values or affecting the indisputable good of scientific freedom?

TU Berlin is dedicated to facilitating scientific and teaching cooperation including under difficult conditions. Isolation is not a solution in international scientific cooperation. Indeed the past has sufficiently shown that in situations where political discourse is hardly possible, scientific dialog and exchange can continue to contribute to viable relationships, thus strengthening civil societies in countries with significant restrictions.

However, it is vital that everyone involved in such cooperation understands the risks and benefits. TU Berlin calls on researchers to assume personal responsibility. Additionally, the University's Department of International Affairs, in particular International Scientific Cooperation, International Projects, and Transnational Education, provides members of the University with the necessary support for cooperation under difficult circumstances.

Contacts at the Department of International Affairs

Evelina Skurski

Head of Section, Asia, Oceania, Strategic Partnership: University of Technology, Sydney

+49 30 314-25865

Further contacts at TU Berlin

Research Department

Organization name Department V - Research and Technology Transfer Department

Research Department

Center for Cultural Studies on Science and Technnology in China

External Advising

German Rectors' Conference

The guidelines and standards for international university cooperation published by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) have also been adopted by TU Berlin and provide a good foundation.

The HRK has also issued a resolution with guiding questions specifically addressing cooperation with China.

Max Planck Society

The Max Planck Society provides a list of possible factors which can help in determining whether special circumstances exist and precautions are needed. These indicators include restrictions or risks relating to:
- Protecting and respecting human rights
- Respecting academic freedom
- Democratic structures (democracy index)
- Corruption (see also Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index)
- Scientific espionage

DAAD-Kompetenzzentrum für Internationale Wissenschaftskooperationen

The DAAD Kompetenzzentrum für Internationale Wissenschaftskooperationen also provides information and individual advising. KIWi has developed further assessment criteria on this topic, which are published in its paper "Keine roten Linien: Wissenschaftskooperationen unter komplexen Rahmenbedingungen."

Global Public Policy Institute

The Volkswagen Foundation and Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin support scientific work aligning with the Academic Freedom Index, which assesses the state of global academic freedom and identifies gobal trends over the course of history. Currently, only roughly 20% of the world's population lives in countries where academic freedom is legally and de facto protected.