Resolution on public research and scientific and academic freedoms

published 25 July 2015 updated 14 May 2024

The 7th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from 21nd to 26th July 2015:

Recognises that:

1. In most of the world's countries, reforms to the organization and funding of public research steer research mainly for short-term economic and, to some extent, societal interests.

2. As a result, funding for public research laboratories increasingly depend on guidelines defined by policies which have not been evaluated within the scientific community or in society.

3. Research questions facing scientists are relegated to the background by political orders imposing an obligation of innovation and transfer to industry, which it is hoped would be the key to solving the economic crisis.

4. Such policies are based on concepts of New Public Management aimed at organizing the steering of research and researchers. Per-project funding is quickly becoming the most common form of research funding. Current reforms end up curbing scientific freedoms and significantly reducing the time that researchers have to effectively carry out research activities.

5. One of the major consequences of per-project funding is the explosion of precariousness, particularly for young scientists, to the detriment of stable and permanent jobs.

6. In response to these attacks on public research, EI must initiate a global campaign in support of freedom of research and academic freedom on the following basis.

7. Research must be free. This involves freedom of initiative and realization of research and independence for researcher who must be protected from any pressure whatsoever. Research must contribute to increasing knowledge in all fields, the sole guarantee of human intellectual and cultural well-being. Research can only contribute to improving the planet's prospects for the future and develop in the interest of human societies if the two fundamental freedoms are guaranteed: freedom of research and academic freedom.

8. In order to guarantee these freedoms and the development of research, researchers, teacher-researchers, engineers and technicians must benefit from the best possible working conditions, and in particular stable jobs and decent wages.

9. Democratic requirements make scientific knowledge global common goods. While working towards scientific democracy which promotes debates and the joint development of knowledge between researchers and civilian stakeholders, the States must guarantee intellectual freedom of research and the professional autonomy of the scientific field, which are the guarantors of scientific knowledge, upstream of the decisions aimed at developing public policy.