Consider making a list of organizations you should not cooperate with.

Consider making a list of organizations you should not cooperate with.

“It is a challenge to set boundaries on what we will collaborate on and with whom we will collaborate,” Olaf Boland, dean of NTNU’s Faculty of Engineering, wrote in an email to Khrono.

The deans of many Norwegian universities agree on this.

Morgenbladet Norway's collaboration with the research giant in the East has been highlighted in several articles.

“We are not on the right track by any means,” says Research and Higher Education Minister Odmund Hoyle, of research cooperation with China.

Because it's hard to draw boundaries.

– Norway's research policy towards China is interest-based: it is based on the fact that we have a national interest in cooperating with China, because China is a research superpower and is becoming increasingly important. “It would be a pity for us if we isolated ourselves from knowledge production,” says Hoel. Morgenbladet.

But the other side of cooperation is that you have to think about more security, the minister says.

More meetings, more maps.

The topic of Norwegian research cooperation with China has come up several times in recent years. In the spring of 2023, Khrono wrote that a Guides how Norwegian researchers should cooperate with international contacts in a safe manner. Sent for consultation. These guidelines are now available and posted on Hong Kong monastery.

“We will not close the door to international cooperation or information exchange. But we must be more careful when it comes to how information is exchanged and who is invited to institutions, whether it is lecturers, researchers, teachers or students,” said then-Minister of Research and Higher Education Sandra Borch. The guidelines were published in August 2023..

– We have also established regular meeting places between authorities and industry, whether it is our roundtables in China or industry meetings on security. And then we are strengthening that by mapping sensitive areas more comprehensively. That is the work we are currently doing, Hoel tells Morgenbladet now.


Sounding the alarm on research collaboration: – Norway was frighteningly naive

– The art of balance

Much of what is being worked on in technology at NTNU could also have potential military uses – in addition to civilian applications, writes Brigadier Olav Boland. He calls for clearer boundaries for everyone involved in R&D, which he says should be set together with the Norwegian authorities.

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“At NTNU, we conduct individual export control assessments when hiring, at the start of projects, and when requesting guest accommodation. We are currently considering creating a list of institutions that we will not cooperate with, in line with what we see examples of in other countries,” says Boland.

Photo of Dean Olaf Boland at NTNU.

It is difficult to set limits on who we will cooperate with and what we will cooperate on, says Brigadier Olav Boland.

—The art of balancing academic freedom with the demands of Norwegian security policy, writes Gunn Mangrod, dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen, in a text message to Khrono.

She says she believes the authorities are engaged in some double-talk regarding research collaboration with China, which she finds difficult.

“Cooperation with China is still important in many areas, it is a strong research hub that we have to deal with,” Mangrod says.

She says the art of balancing may lead to less cooperation in areas that could be considered sensitive.

Several things

Chinese researchers and students have come to Norwegian universities in recent years, Khrono wrote. Through a program that requires loyalty to the Chinese authoritiesThe program in question is the China Scholarship Council (CSC), which is administered by the Chinese system and offers, among other things, scholarships for residency at universities in other countries.

In Bodø, representatives of a Chinese university contacted an employee of Nord University. Both before and during a major conference..

In addition, he is a Norwegian citizen. on charges of spying for ChinaIt is not affiliated with any Norwegian university or college, but Jan Haland Matlari, a professor at the University of Oslo, He was in contact with the man. Now I feel offended.

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Professors' Travel to Russia: – Violation of Regulations

grey areas

In export control regulations, which was also the subject of When a German-Iranian researcher had to stand trialThere is a list of materials and technologies that you must apply for a license for in order to cooperate in. For example, there is nuclear technology and materials that are only used to make weapons.

But the challenge is that this list is not exhaustive, Howell tells Morgenbladet. He also points out that there is a gray area of ​​potentially sensitive technology and knowledge.

“The most challenging thing about this is that technology and professional fields are constantly changing. That means that the set of regulations that list exactly what is sensitive and what is not will be outdated tomorrow,” says Howell.

Another challenge is that a lot of the collaboration with China is done in the form of collaboration between researchers. So there is no automaticity in how risk assessments are done.

“The starting point here is that researchers have academic freedom and free communication with each other. But then we have to have a system in place at institutions that work in areas that may be sensitive,” says Howell. “They have to have routines that ensure that communication is captured.”

Export Control

Foreign Ministry postpones controversial list again

She has appointed her own manager.

At the University of Oslo, a Director of Social and Business Communication has now been appointed, whose special area of ​​responsibility will be responsible international cooperation. This is what Solveig Christensen, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo (UiO), wrote in a text message to Khrono.

Christensen says the new director will be part of the college's senior management and will work in close collaboration with UiO's emergency response officer.

She points out that active international research collaboration is important.

— Central issues such as the environment, climate, energy, biodiversity and health represent challenges that cannot be solved at the national level, but require broad international cooperation.

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Christensen says that it is particularly the science and technology communities that face new challenges in scientific cooperation with researchers from countries that our authorities believe pose security risks. She says that UiO is aware of its responsibility – and at the same time wants to facilitate cooperation.


Iranians received training on sensitive security equipment at the University of Oslo.

The physical conference has been cancelled.

Recently, it has become known that the Police Security Service (PST) is concerned about the fact that the University of Agder (UiA) from 5 to 8 August is Participate in organizing a research conference where the topic is industrial electronics.. Senior Advisor Eric Fiume at the PST asked the UiA to consult with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the matter.

A similar conference on robotics was supposed to be held recently at NTNU in Ålesund. One of the co-organizers of this year's conference is the Beijing Institute of Technology. It is one of the so-called “seven sons” universities, which are considered to have close ties to the Chinese military apparatus, writes Aftenposten.

On the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the PST, NTNU chose to cancel the physical conference. However, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) chose to organize the conference digitally.

Poland told Aftenposten demandingly:

– We are being pulled in different directions. On the one hand, the authorities are encouraging research collaborations with countries like China. On the other hand, we are being advised to be more cautious, says Poland.

NTNU allowed staff to participate in the digital conference out of respect for academic freedom, Khrono said.

— We have ensured that our staff contributions to the conference do not conflict with export control regulations.

To Poland’s knowledge, this is the first time in Norway that a conference has been cancelled over export controls. He believes the case illustrates one of the challenges ahead:

– Participation and contribution in international conferences.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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