Deep democracy sessions on collaboration with fossil industry

Should the university collaborate with the fossil industry - and if so, under what conditions? Which ambitions do we have around this topic? That is the subject of a series of meetings the Executive Board is organizing with the University Council. The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 20.

In order to get all insights on this topic on the table, the Deep Democracy method will be used: decision-making with attention and appreciation for other viewpoints. The aim is to gather ideas and intentions from different (academic) disciplines within Utrecht University. From the views of students and staff who are totally against cooperation, to those of researchers currently working with the fossil industry. Together, we want to work towards a set of findings that the Executive Board and the Employee and student representation will take into account in future decision-making and frameworks for collaborations.

How does it work?

For three hours, approximately forty attendees engage in a conversation about their views. What do they think about collaboration with the fossil industry, and why? What could a solution look like? Co-creation is the key word: the goal is to unravel the answers to these questions together. The outcome of the session is therefore not fixed and can go either way. The Board has indicated its willingness to look at this issue very openly.

The first meeting is internal in nature because, as Utrecht University, we initially want to get the insights within our own community on the table. In addition to students, researchers, staff and activists, members of the Executive Board and the Employee and student representation will also participate.


The first session will take place on Monday, March 20, from 9am to noon, in Dutch. An English-language session will follow later in spring. Part of the available spots will be distributed by invitation, and part by open registration. Would you like to participate on March 20? Then send an e-mail to We'll let you know as soon as possible if you can join.


The plan is to organize one or more sessions after this first meeting, including at least one in English. If the number of applications exceeds the number of available spots, these people will be invited to a future session.

The session will not be filmed or recorded in another way. Instead, a complete overview (in text) of all insights and arguments discussed (not traceable to individuals) will be made after the session. This overview will be shared with the Executive Board and additionally published on the intranet and student website. The moderator will also summarize the session in an audio file, which we will publish with the above overview.

Do you want to stay informed on these sessions? Please send an e-mail to