WUR too stops cooperation with Russia knowledge institutions

Dutch universities are stopping cooperation with knowledge institutions in Russia and Belarus.
Higher Higher School of Economics, Moskow. Photo Shutterstock/BestPhotoPlus

WUR too is putting its collaboration with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow on hold.

The ministry of Education made an ‘urgent plea’ last week to the Dutch universities to end cooperation with Russian and Belarusian knowledge institutions. Current research with Russian partners must be stopped, no new research projects can be started and Russian and Belarusian partners will be excluded from events. Current exchanges of individual students and staff can however continue.

The call applies to formal relationships with knowledge institutions and not to informal, personal relationships between Dutch and Russian scientists. They can in principle continue, although the universities should assess each case on an individual basis.

Support for students

The ministry also says that students from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus who are studying in the Netherlands must be able to complete their studies. Given that they could end up in financial problems due to the war and the boycott, the Education ministry is reserving one million euros for the support of these students.

A stock-take shows that WUR does not have many research projects with Russia. The main Russian partner at present is the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, which has an Institute for Agrarian Studies. The projects WUR had with HSE finished in late 2021. In November 2021, WUR signed an agreement with HSE to extend the collaboration; the boycott means preparations for implementing that agreement will now stop.


WUR also has less intensive, generally informal contacts with Moscow State University, Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in Moscow, Tomsk Polytechnical University, Tomsk State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences. These contacts are mostly for the occasional exchange of students and sharing educational programmes and training courses. WUR does not have any financial liabilities in Russia at the moment. The meeting with Russian partners to discuss developing a MOOC (online course) on sustainable food systems, which was scheduled for May, will probably be cancelled.

On 4 March, the Union of Rectors of the Russian universities expressed its support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine in an official letter.

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