It is becoming increasingly clear that no one is immune to international politics, including our own university in a country historically relatively unaffected by international restrictions and conflicts.
As a university, KI strongly defends the liberty of thought and the possibility and right of researchers to interact and build network across borders. This is a fundamental principle of a free world and a prerequisite for science.
Two days ago we were alarmed by information that a researcher who has been active at KI is imprisoned in Iran on unclear grounds and without due trial. Detention of any person under the threat of being punished without due trial is unacceptable. KI is now seeking further information and advice on how to act.
In another part of the world, new immigration rules are restricting movement of individuals and hence also the abilities for scientific interchange and the building of scientific networks. This is happening in the USA, a country known for attracting scientists from all over the world working together to deliver successful research. The latest on this is that the restrictions have been stopped by the US justice system on the grounds that they are unconstitutional
Important research ally
In a longer time span, alarming signals are coming from the new US administration indicating restrictions in academic freedom, ie the right of scientists to independently choose research questions and methodology, and to freely spread research results. For Sweden, the US is an important research ally and in many research fields also an example and an inspirer, why these developments raise concerns both from our own egocentric perspective but more importantly as a member of the global research community.
As an independent academia we are obliged to speak up and defend scientific values and our research colleagues. It is equally important for us to engage in dialogue with our government. We will do our best to bring attention to our concerns and, if asked, provide constructive advice.