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Strategic Partnerships Office


With the University’s extensive international engagement comes a wide range of risks. In order to ensure that these risks are identified and mitigated, enabling our community to continue to flourish wherever their activities lead them, the University has developed a set of practical principles to underpin our international engagement.

Principle 1: Protecting our people 

The University has a duty of care to all its students, researchers and staff. As the international activities of the University develop in a complex and sometimes volatile global geopolitical environment, we will strengthen the planning, assessment and management of risks, including online risks, to students and researchers studying or working internationally or on internationally-relevant research. 

Principle 2: Defending academic freedom, core values and highest professional standards

Our mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. We recruit globally because we want the best minds to come to Cambridge, and we value the richness of our internationally diverse community of staff, students, visitors and alumni. We encourage our researchers and students to go out into the world in search of knowledge, wherever it takes them.

Central to this pursuit is our commitment to academic freedom – the freedom to teach, research, learn and publish without political or other interference, and free from pressures, threats and intimidation – and to our core values of freedom of speech and expression and freedom from discrimination. We will seek to advocate these values in our international engagements, and are prepared to review, pause or withdraw from international engagements that threaten them.

Principle 3: Promoting and supporting a risk-literate academic culture

People are as critical to effective risk management as systems, processes and technologies. We will foster a culture of vigilance and awareness to minimise and mitigate risks of theft or hostile use of IP or security-sensitive data or technology. Our measures will reinforce the protection of IP to ensure it can be deployed and scaled through commercialisation. Building on our commitment to protect the safety and health of our staff and students, we will reinforce the resources available to researchers and when appropriate introduce mandatory training to enable them to better mitigate risks and protect themselves from intimidation (including any perceived restrictions on the fundamental right to academic freedom) or harm arising from their research.

Principle 4: Protecting the open flow of ideas and data 

Openness is integral to our success as a world-leading, research intensive university and we will protect it against wrongful exploitation or interference by hostile actors. We will rigorously assess the nature and degree of risk that is present in international engagements and apply proportionate measures that mitigate those risks to an acceptable level. 

Principle 5: Safeguarding funding autonomy

The diversity and transparency of our funding sources enable and safeguard our autonomy. We act ethically in accepting funding and we scrutinise all engagements with external parties that might give rise to significant public interest, pose a reputational risk and/or inhibit the safeguarding of our staff or students. We are open about and actively manage conflicts of interest in our international relationships. We will avoid concentrations of risk by strategically further expanding the global reach of our activities, including international student recruitment.