Research at Dutch universities is often carried out by foreign scientists. At the same time, the intelligence services warn of knowledge espionage. How can (high-tech) knowledge be protected in an environment where knowledge is supposed to be shared? And is this protection done in the right way?
Countries with the most advanced high-tech industries are pulling the strings these days. In the Netherlands, a lot of high-tech research is being done, including at the TU/e. The knowledge acquired must not fall into the wrong hands, which is why the government is working on new measures to counter international knowledge espionage. Designing these policies is a complex balancing act; we cannot naively open everything up and be vulnerable to misuse and espionage, but closing everything off leads to isolation and goes against the value of open science.
In practice, this means that sometimes risks are ignored and at other times the rights of individual researchers are compromised. Chinese and Iranian researchers, for example, are sometimes barred for security reasons. So, nationality becomes a reason for suspicion, diversity becomes a risk, and discrimination becomes part of the system. As a university, how do you decide whom to trust and whom not to trust?
In her new Dutch podcast series, Vriend of Vijand, science journalist Saar Slegers explores the dilemmas underlying Dutch knowledge security policy. Saar Slegers produces radio and podcasts for NPO Radio 1, VPRO, NTR and Human, among others. She was nominated for the Prix Europa for her award-winning podcast series De Man en de Maan (DOCS, NTR). From 15 April onwards, weekly episodes of Vriend of Vijand will be aired on Argos, HUMAN/VPRO, NPO Radio 1 and on the podcast platforms.
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More information about SG & USE can be found here.