Word of welcome by Jan van Zanen at the opening gathering of the Global Research Council meeting, 30 May 2023

Good evening everyone,

Heads of research councils, distinguished guests,


Welcome to this opening gathering here in the Hilton Hotel. The side events of this eleventh annual meeting of the Global Research Council have already begun. Tomorrow you will start talking to each other at the Peace Palace, a more than fitting location.

Given that the GRC is about worldwide scientific cooperation on global issues. To find answers to questions about the future of our planet. To search for just solutions which will lead us to that future. For peace and justice, precisely what the Peace Palace was built for. Peace and justice: two words that also form part of The Hague’s coat of arms.

Our city, The Hague, is home to a great many international organisations and institutions. From the United Nations and various European organisations, to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. They are surrounded by an impressive network of organisations, including some dedicated to the protection of international law, intellectual property and patents. A local division of the Unified Patent Court will open here on 1 June. A nice addition alongside the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (Benelux Merkenbureau) that are both already based here.

This Council Meeting directly touches on these areas. The main theme is the issue of climate and climate policy. Linked to this are questions related to reward, recognition and reciprocity in global science and research. Dilemmas concerning knowledge sharing and protecting intellectual property. Issues that are also on the desks of institutions based in The Hague and which will eventually evolve into legislation.

It is up to you to find sound scientific answers to the major questions surrounding climate and climate justice. And equally as important: the conditions under which free and valid scientific insight can be made available through exchange and collaboration.

I wish you all a fruitful Global Research Council Meeting.