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Following extensive consultations across all areas of the university, the UvA has decided that it will no longer collaborate with companies from the fossil fuel sector unless a number of strict conditions are met.

How was this decision taken? 

In 2023, through multiple dialogue sessions, we have gathered together as many insights as possible from all areas of the UvA in order to ensure that any decision that we make is broadly supported by the UvA community. During these sessions, a wide range of views were expressed: everything from ‘collaboration is needed in order to help companies change’ to ‘break all ties immediately’. Finally, there appears to be a consensus on key points: we are facing a climate crisis, this can be regarded as an emergency that requires urgent action, the energy transition must be accelerated and achieving the Paris climate targets is key. 

This consensus served as a guiding principle in the preparation of a decision. Based on the UvA-wide dialogue sessions for all students and staff, a proposal was submitted to the University Committee on Education, the University Committee on Research, the Advisory Committee on Collaboration with Third Parties, the University Valorisation Committee, the University of Amsterdam Ethics Committee, the Senate, the Central Works Council (COR), the Central Student Council (CSR) and the faculty deans. Following these consultations, the proposal was amended and the decision was approved.

What does the decision involve? 

The UvA will no longer collaborate in projects in which the fossil fuel industry is involved, unless three strict criteria are met:

  • The project has the explicit objective of contributing to the achievement of the targets under the Paris Agreement.  
  • The project – and, as a result, the positive contributions to the Paris targets – cannot be implemented in another way or with other, non-fossil fuel partners; because data or measurement tools would not otherwise be available, for example.  
  • A broad-based, multidisciplinary advisory committee will advise as to whether the intended contribution to the Paris climate objectives justifies the collaboration.

These stricter rules governing collaboration with third parties will be laid down in a new policy framework Collaboration with Third Parties you can find the current framework here (UvA login required).

Any collaboration with the fossil fuel industry will be submitted by the dean of the faculty concerned for assessment against this framework by the Advisory Committee on Collaboration with Third Parties.


We are facing a global emergency.

We will avoid greenwashing, whenever we can.

We will intensify sustainability in research, education and operations. 

We will be transparent about our collaborations with the fossil fuel industry.


  • How do we assess collaborations for their contribution to the climate targets?

    In cases where collaboration with the fossil fuel sector can make a significant contribution to achievement of the climate targets and no other partners or means are available for this purpose, we believe that collaboration is acceptable, by way of exception and on a project basis.

    The dean will always submit plans for new research collaborations with partners from the fossil fuel sector to the Advisory Committee on Collaboration with Third Parties. This will be done in the early stages of exploring a planned collaboration. The Committee will assess whether project proposals meet the above requirements and make a recommendation in this regard to the dean concerned. The dean will then decide how best to act on the recommendation. The Advisory Committee will report periodically on the recommendations that it has made. 

  • How do we ensure that our collaboration contributes to achievement of the Paris climate targets?

    If we collaborate with partners from the fossil fuel sector, we will never do so in the field of the extraction of fossil fuels, and, wherever possible, we will avoid greenwashing. Transparency and academic integrity are key.

    • We will continue to make it a requirement that (sustainable) research conducted under an exclusive licence cannot by shelved by a company (anti-shelving).
    • Academic independence is guaranteed.
    • Our research results are always published.
    • Non-exclusive licences are awarded so that other interested parties can work on the new knowledge too. 
  • How will we avoid greenwashing?

    We will avoid greenwashing as much we can by incorporating clear guarantees into collaboration agreements. We will include provisions on communication in such agreements and make it explicitly clear that one-off collaborations with companies do not mean that we support their views. We will also explicitly distance ourselves from misrepresentation, disinformation practices and violations of human rights by parties in the fossil fuel sector. 

  • How are we intensifying our activities in the field of sustainability?

    The UvA is intensifying its activities in the field of sustainability in its operations, research, education and valorisation. In the second half of the current Strategic Plan (2024-2026), sustainability, which is already one of the four social themes that guide our research, will receive additional support in terms of funding and human resources.

    With its wide range of disciplines, the UvA is ideally positioned to make a contribution to achievement of the targets in the Paris Agreement. Many UvA employees are already working hard on sustainability in education, research and valorisation. The exact nature of the planned intensification will be set out in the update of our White Paper on Sustainability. In this context, the UvA, in collaboration with other universities, knowledge organisations and the government, will explore the possibility of setting up a joint fund which can be used to support projects that contribute to achievement of the climate targets. This will reinforce the independent and critical role of knowledge institutions. 

  • Can fossil fuel partners be invited to speak at the UvA for educational purposes, for example as guest speakers?

    The UvA trusts its staff and students - including members of educational committees – to shape education based on their academic freedom, which is always linked to social responsibility and the sustainability ambitions of the UvA. This implies that there is also room in education for inviting guest speakers who may not necessarily share our values. Outside of the curriculum, it is up to student organisations themselves to decide whether they wish to invite parties from the fossil fuel sector.

  • How big is the financial contribution to research from collaborations with the fossil fuel industry?

    It amounts to roughly 1.7 million euros, or approximately 0.6 percent on an annual basis of the total research budget.

    Total research income
    In 2023, the UvA received approximately 297.8 million euros in government funding for all research at the UvA.

  • How many collaborative projects with fossil fuel partners are there currently?

    The UvA has thousands of collaborative projects in total, with partners from all kinds of industries and markets. Currently,  ongoing projects which involve partners from the fossil fuel industry can be found here.

    The greenhouse gas methane as a raw material for the chemical industry (NWO LIFT grant)

    Primary applicant: UvA
    Consortium: University of Amsterdam, Shell

    What does the project entail?
    Although the concept of waste as a raw material is well known today, we should also develop the necessary chemical processes, as these will be crucial for achieving a circular economy. The researchers engaged in this project will develop a fundamentally new, light-driven method of converting the greenhouse gas methane into useful products. This project will help to reduce the impact of methane on the environment, promote the efficient use of methane as a raw material for the chemical industry and contribute to securing our sustainable future.

    PARADISE measurements

    Primary applicant: UvA
    Consortium: Genentech, Shell, DSM, Netherlands Forensic Institute, University of Amsterdam, VU Amsterdam

    What does the project entail?
    Academia and society need factual data in order to be able to decide and act responsibly. What is the cause behind the patient’s symptoms? Is this drug safe? Is this substance explosive? Those who conduct such measurements and come up with new measurement methods are known as analytical chemists. The challenges that analytical chemists face are becoming increasingly complex and require highly advanced equipment and extremely smart software. These innovations are being developed as part of the PARADISE project, in which the University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam are working together with Genentech (a Roche company), Shell, DSM and the Netherlands Forensic Institute. 


    Primary applicant: WUR; the UvA is a joint applicant

    Consortium: Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions-AMS, Brabant Water, Deltares, Dow Benelux, Dunea, Evides, City of Amsterdam, Municipality of Terneuzen, GlastuinbouwNL, Port of Rotterdam, HZ University of Applied Sciences, ICT Netherlands B.V., KnowH2O, KWR Water, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Netherlands Water Partnership-NWP, North Sea Port, Nijhuis Industrial Technologies, NXFiltration, Oasen, Province of North Brabant, Province of Zeeland, Province of South Holland, RoyalHaskoningDHV, Shell, Stibbe, STOWA, Swinkels, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, University of Twente, Vitens, VU Amsterdam, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, Wageningen University & Research, Water Alliance, the water boards Aa en Maas, Hoogheemraadschap Holland Noorderkwartier, Rijn & IJssel, Scheldestromen, Vallei & Veluwe and Vechtstromen, and Witteveen+Bos.

    What does the project entail?
    In the Netherlands, we are increasingly faced with freshwater shortages as a result of severe drought. The large AquaConnect consortium offers a solution for this: its researchers aim to harness new water treatment technologies to make wastewater and brackish groundwater suitable for use. These technologies are supported by a system that determines the water quality required for a particular purpose. The government can then use this system to inform its legislation and regulations. In addition, the researchers are working on advanced computer models that connect water providers to users through ‘smart water grids’, which also include water storage underground. For four regions, the programme will show how they can become self-sufficient in terms of freshwater supply and thereby serve as an example for other places in the world.

    Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC-CBBC)

    Founding partners: Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Groningen, Utrecht University. Consortium including VU Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, Radboud University, Leiden University, UvA, AkzoNobel, BASF, Nouryon and Shell.

    What does the project entail?
    The aim of ARC-CBBC is to develop the sustainable molecules of the future. Within the UvA, nine projects are in progress or have just been completed in the context of ARC-CBBC. See also Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium - ARC CBBC (

    SHV Energy

    Primary applicant: SHV Energy.

    What does the project entail?
    Sustainable production of LPG from CO2.

    HE CL4 Plastice: EU project


    Primary applicant: CIRCE - Centro Tecnológico in Zaragoza.
    Consortium including Total Energies and other partners

    What does the project entail?
    Find more information here.

    NWO-LIFT-RainCarbon (Former Ruetgers resins)

    Primary applicant: FNWI, Consortium including RainCarbon and other partners

    What does the project entail?
    Making renewable polymers/oligomers from waste biomass for resin applications.

    Hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol

    Primary applicant: UvA

    What does the project entail?
    The fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemical energy conversion and using renewable electricity to manufacture chemicals and fuels.

    Tenure-track grant for one researcher (NWO-ECCM tenure-track grant with contribution from the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant, in which fossil-fuel companies also participate)

    Primary applicant: UvA

    What does this project entail?
    The fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemical energy conversion and using renewable electricity to manufacture chemicals and fuels.


    BatteryNL – Next Generation Batteries based on Understanding Materials Interfaces | NWO (NWO-ORC-ORG project)

    Primary applicant: TU Delft

    What does this project entail?
    This project focuses on realising the next generation of batteries that are safer, with higher energy densities and longer life, necessary for a society based on renewable energy sources. Drawing on unique Dutch expertise, the heart of these coveted batteries - the electrode-electrolyte interface - will be investigated and improved with scalable technologies. To achieve the social integration of these technological breakthroughs, the social and economic impact is evaluated in direct cooperation with various stakeholders. The UvA is the leader of WP6 "social economic analysis.
    BatteryNL | Next Generation Batteries based on Understanding of Materials Interfaces