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Security in field research

VU International News and Reviews No. 98 September 25 2017

September 2017

The ERASMUS University Rotterdam has published a manual “Security guidelines for field research in complex, remote and hazardous places” to help researchers and their universities to reduce risk as much as possible. The manual looks not only at risks for the researchers themselves but also for their local aids and the subjects of their research. It provides useful checklists and a sample format with forms for a risk assessment, which looks at likelihood * impact and measures to reduce both.

Universities may have prepared better for risk assessment and risk mitigation for their students travelling abroad then for their researchers. Quite likely, universities are not fully aware of the “Duty of Care” which they have for their academics and the liability – financial, legal, reputational – that they have in these matters.

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