Within the Department of Tax Law at the University of Amsterdam there are internal concerns about the independence of scholars. University professors are sponsored or sponsored by the Zuidas offices or by the Lobby Club, without the university being transparent about it.
Several employees have complained about it, according to a recording of a meeting he held news hour† Internally, the staff also refers to preferential treatment, which would have given a number of scholars a professorial appointment without extensive appointment procedures.
The university engaged an external committee to investigate the potential impact of external funders.
Reporters from Follow the Money revealed late last year, based on declassified documents, that scholars from the tax law division had sponsorship in their investigations by accounting and law firms.
Following this publication, the department chair and Professor Hein Vermeulen, who resigned today, invited his colleagues together digitally to discuss the matter. Several colleagues at the meeting criticized the lack of transparency regarding external funding. Recordings of the digital meeting were made, which Nieuwsuur was able to obtain.
“As long as I work at the University of Amsterdam, it surprises me,” says one employee of external funding. “I also see that we should really point the finger at the government, which is so underfunded at universities that things like this appear. That we depend on the business community, which I also think: This stands in the way of independence science.”
Another colleague talks about science upon request. “You can use the professorship commercially. In the Middle Ages you used to buy desks, now you buy a chair.” Some frustration is high. “I am aware of this ‘who eats his bread.’ No firm agreements can be made (on external financing, red†
Department Head Vermeulen is subject to critical questioning by his staff during the meeting. Someone asks Vermeulen: “There are chairs that are sponsored that are not advertised. You have to be transparent about that. Why isn’t that happening?” He has no answer. “It was definitely a learning moment,” he says.
Says one employee: “Everyone feels that this is how it works: you can choose something objectively to a certain extent, but if something appears below that is unfavorable to your sponsor, everyone will feel that you are not going that direction. It has nothing to do with science.”
A sharp debate arises in the meeting when distrust of colleagues is condemned. “I think some people have a very negative attitude,” says one attendee. “You have to assume that those who do are have integrity.” “It’s common knowledge. Taking care of all the head offices. That’s been the case for ten years, and it’s really nothing new.”
Head of the department Hein Vermeulen stated at the meeting that Dean Andre Nollkaemper had set a goal by which scientists would fund their research externally. “I agree with you: if there was enough money, this problem would not exist,” he told his employees.
Vermeulen late after questions from news hour He knows he has no indication that scientists are uncomfortable with the conclusions they write about foreign-funded studies.
In response to questions, Dean Nollkaemper denies there is a target for external funding. “There has been and is no quota earmarked for ‘third party financing’, neither in the tax law department nor anywhere else in the college.”
The University of Amsterdam announced that it launched an external investigation earlier this month into the possible influence of external funders on research in the department. This investigation was started after previously reported Fulia University Journal†
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