Responsible global engagement

Global engagement is at the heart of what we do. Our vision is to make the world a better place and to address tomorrow’s greatest challenges. We work without boundaries to build innovative global partnerships for research, teaching and impact.

Our community is global, and we recognise that some risks associated with international engagement are dynamic and growing in complexity.

We want to ensure that we can continue to deliver our global engagement in a safe and responsible way.

What does 'responsible global engagement' look like?

Responsible Global Engagement is about being aware of the potential risks of our international engagements, and thinking about what we might do to protect our staff and the University.

International engagement takes on many forms including education partnerships, funding of research, informal academic interactions, overseas visits and international conferences, exchange of data, information, research materials and equipment, hosting of short and long-term visitors and recruitment of staff and students.

Key guidance for universities

Universities UK has developed guidance on managing risks in internationalisation: security-related issues.

View the Universities UK guidance

Universities UK defines ‘security-related issues’ broadly and their guidance outlines the potential risks across four pillars:

  • Protecting your reputation and values
  • Protecting your people
  • Protecting your campuses
  • Protecting your partnerships

The National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published Trusted Research guidance to raise awareness of the risks associated with research collaborations that involve organisations or research partners with links to nations whose democratic and ethical values are different from our own.

View the Trusted research guidance

Supporting responsible global engagement

The Security and Risk in International Partnerships Group (SRIPG) is the internal group that coordinates the University’s response to the Trusted Research and UUK guidance on measures to guard against hostile interference and promote academic freedom in international collaborative activity.

SRIPG is chaired by the Vice-Principal International and includes staff representatives responsible for internationalisation, partnerships and risk from across the University. The group meets four times each year and reports annually to the University Audit & Risk Committee.

Please contact the Global Partnerships team for more information about SRIPG (or UoE staff can access the Partnerships Toolkit for more information.)

Visit the Partnerships Toolkit

Contact the Global Partnerships team

Responsible research

Edinburgh Research Office provides guidance and resources for researchers working with international collaborators. The guidance will help you to protect your research from theft and exploitation, ensuring that your work is safe and complies with legal and regulatory frameworks.

Edinburgh Research Office: Responsible Research

Additional information and advice about trusted and responsible research:

Trusted Research Guidance for Academia

Export Control regulations

National Security and Investment Act 2021 (NSIA)

International Collaborations: Identifying security threats and protecting research (Blog)

Partnerships toolkit

An information hub for Edinburgh staff with resources and guidance on the principles of partnerships, steps to develop new partnerships, due diligence checklists, risk management, internal governance and approval groups and staff contact points.

Visit the Partnerships Toolkit

Safe travel

Guidance on staying safe while travelling.

For staff

The Business Travel site provides information on risk assessments, insurance, travel health and safety overseas. 

Visit the Business Travel website

For students

The Study and Work Away (SWAY) site has information for students including risk assessments, insurance and staying safe and well.

Visit the SWAY website

Information security 

The Information Security site provides guidance on how to keep your data and technology secure while travelling, including laptops, encryption, sensitive files, preparing for remote working and training sessions.

Visit the Information Security website

Working globally

The Human Resources site provides guidance for things to consider when sending staff or appointing staff to an international partner institution. Working overseas for a UK employer, even for a short period of time, can have right to work/immigration, employment law, tax, social security, pensions, insurance and health and safety implications (for both the individual and the University).

Visit the HR website