Stewardship Policy

The Stewardship Policy brings together all the university instruments that support the members of Heidelberg University in the safe and responsible planning, administering and implementing of university tasks and processes. The foundations for this are transparent institutional conditions, rules and practices. They are designed to guarantee that the university’s three essential areas of activity – research, teaching and transfer – can be carried out appropriately, without any threat to academic integrity and institutional autonomy.

Heidelberg University has adopted the following guidelines:

1. Responsibility in research, teaching and transfer

The university subscribes to a responsible handling of freedom of research and teaching and the related risks. Research, teaching and transfer activities at the university satisfy and respect fundamental ethical principles. 

2. Good academic practice

In order to meet its responsibility in the three areas of research, teaching and transfer, the university takes steps to establish a culture of good academic practice. A university culture based on partnership and fair competition forms the basis for successful work in research, teaching and transfer and is at the same time an important factor for the prevention of academic misconduct. Part of this culture is the cooperative, supportive behaviour of the administration towards the requirements of research, teaching and transfer.

3. acting in partnership

The university ensures that the cooperation between its members and associates at all operating levels is equitable and respectful. It promotes an environment of intact relationships and an enabling work climate. The university’s declared goal is to guarantee an atmosphere of openness, creativity and orientation to excellent academic achievement. This also includes commitment to the diversity and equality of its members, regardless of gender, age, beliefs or origin.

4. Support for early-career researchers

In order to guarantee a high level of research competence, innovative ability and academic training, the university has adopted programmes, opportunities and recommendations for action to support early-career researchers. The university evaluates the impact of its actions at appropriate intervals.

5. Open Access policy

The university lives out its commitment to give comprehensive access to its knowledge about humankind and the world, generated by research and teaching, and to pass it on to the upcoming generations.

6. Responsibility in cooperation agreements

The university maintains international cooperation agreements, respecting their values and principles. It is characterised by an outward-looking approach. Collaboration is based on mutual respect and trust, as well as valuing the diversity of both individual perspectives and excellent disciplinary methods and infrastructures. It works on central issues for shaping the future through cooperation across disciplines, countries and cultures. In that way, the university assumes responsibility for society.

7. Compliance

The university attributes central importance to compliance with regulatory framework conditions, maintaining high scholarly standards, and supportive and transparent administrative processes. The university takes action to ensure that its tasks are performed in conformity with the law and aligned with its goals, and likewise that its members and associates conduct themselves according to these requirements.

8. Export control

Basic research cannot exclude situations where its findings also lead to the development of dual-use technologies, i.e. allowing for both civilian and military applications. External trade restrictions apply and have to be respected to protect national and global security concerns – going beyond already accessible knowledge and basic research. In their respective areas of responsibility for research and the academic community, the university as an institution and its members check on whether activities require approval or are prohibited under export control law.

9. Sustainability

The university assumes its responsibility to society and contributes to sustainable behaviour and to a peaceful and democratic world. Here it takes guidance from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.