Funding Academia

Dear Professor Nollkaemper, dear André,

Last Friday, 10 December, Follow The Money published an article about the appointment procedures and financing constructions of 'professorships by special appointment' (bijzonder hoogleraren) at our Faculty of Law.

The practices described in the article (potentially) affect the independence of the teaching and research carried out at our faculty. This extends beyond the researchers and professors who are directly sponsored by such financing schemes. As researchers at this faculty, we fear that our credibility as independent researchers is also at stake. In our opinion, such independence cannot be guaranteed by merely including an 'academic freedom clause' in the respective financing structure.

Therefore, we would like to know whether the faculty intends to publish an additional, more comprehensive statement (complementing the short statement, only accessible to employees, published on the faculty website on 14 December).

In addition, we hope that the faculty will also take this opportunity to formulate a clear, robust and open policy on private sector funding. This, following previous initiatives that seemingly went unheeded.

Given the motivation and the subject matter of our concerns, we are making this letter publicly available on 17 December via

We look forward to your reaction.


  • Joran van Apeldoorn
  • Naomi Appelman
  • Jef Ausloos
  • Wiepke Bartstra
  • Jasper van Berckel Smit
  • Yannick van den Berg
  • Ot van Daalen
  • Max van Drunen
  • Valeria Ferrari
  • Alexandra Giannopoulou
  • Geoff Gordon
  • Eva van der Graaf
  • Heleen Janssen
  • Aart Jonkers
  • Paul Keller
  • Reinier Kooiman
  • Bodine Kramer
  • Paddy Leerssen
  • Petar Marceta
  • Marijn Sax
  • Luna Schumacher
  • Theresa Seipp
  • Tim Staal
  • Jill Toh
  • Rolef de Weijs
  • Svetlana Yakovleva
The pdf version of the letter can be downloaded here.
The dean has responded to this open letter, but only wanted the following statement to be made public. You can also find a response drafted by some of us there.

We can be reached for question at