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Universities and UMCs present new guideline for intellectual property use by students

Research at universities and university medical centres (UMCs) should benefit society. Entrepreneurial students can help achieve this aim, while clear guidelines can make student entrepreneurship easier. On Wednesday 23 September, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and Dutch Students for Entrepreneurship (DutchSE) therefore presented an Addendum to the existing guideline on intellectual property to Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven and VVD Member of Parliament Dennis Wiersma.

Universities began supplementing the Guideline on dealing with intellectual property rights (IPR) in the autumn of 2019. The reason for this was a recommendation from the Knowledge Transfer Offices which showed that clear guidelines could further encourage and support student entrepreneurship. With this Addendum, the universities intend to clarify the position of students with respect to intellectual property, for example in relation to patent law, design law and copyright law.

Expanding student entrepreneurship is in line with the universities’ ‘broad impact’ agenda, in which they constantly look for ways to increase the impact of science. This requires a clear policy on intellectual property and possibilities for the use of ideas and their implementation in society. Mirjam van Praag, President of the Executive Board of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and portfolio holder Impact and Entrepreneurship for the VSNU: ‘The Addendum encourages entrepreneurship among students. Clear, unambiguous and fair rules will of course make this more appealing. This gives students the opportunity to take their ideas to the next stage, thus ensuring the greatest possible impact of science on society.’

The Addendum will be introduced at the universities in the near future. Maartje Bakker from DutchSE: ‘This is a welcome first step in providing clarity regarding the intellectual property position of students. Together with the VSNU, we will now start working on a communication tool to make the information on intellectual property even more accessible to students.’

The House of Representatives has been supportive of this development, as demonstrated by a motion submitted by Dennis Wiersma (VVD) and Eppo Bruins (CU) calling for this guideline to be issued quickly.

The document is available in English here.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Wesley Boer
Deputy VSNU spokesperson
+31 (0)6 13 09 44 83


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Ruben Puylaert


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Liselotte de Langen

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