"Do not give professors with additional business positions major positions"

“Do not give professors with additional business positions major positions”

For a long time, Jan van de Strick combined two jobs: he conducted scientific research on tax law, worked in the commercial tax offices in Zuids. Until in 2018, she started nibbling goodbye to his business career. As he put it, the professor is “in constant conflict” because of this dual job. “Discussions have been going on for ten years about the Dutch tax climate for multinationals. When journalists asked me for an opinion, I noticed reservations. Meanwhile, I called my tax consultant: Van de Strick, think of our customers!”

Van de Strick certainly isn’t the only one who’s been juggling conflicting positions for so long: Roughly 70 percent of tax law professors remain tax consultants. Clarity about these kinds of additional jobs for professors is not self-evident. Nieuwsuur reported Wednesday evening that universities have a poor view of their scientists’ side jobs. Mandatory registration for this sounds like a mess.

The Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) now maintains a central registry containing all the outside activities and functions of scientists. The organization stresses that it is important to “protect scientific independence and avoid the emergence of a conflict of interest”. According to the Academy, this independence is one of the “foundations of public confidence in science”.

EY offers its partner for a chair

In the science of taxation, there has been debate for some time about commercial side jobs and how they affect the independence of science. follow the money He recently published several articles about chairs at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) that have been sponsored by Zuidas Loyens & Loeff and EY offices for years. EY has introduced its partner Danielle Smit as a professor and appears only willing to sponsor the chair as long as an EY employee takes over. After criticism from younger law faculty, the UvA promised to take action after these “fundamental questions.”

“It is not good for the spectacle of knowledge if there is not enough contradiction and controversy,” says Van de Strick. It refers to a report stating that a particular research has not been conducted because it is not in the best interest of tax advisors and their clients. That is why he believes that it is extremely important for professors in key positions, research directors, and heads of departments at a university to be completely independent. “You prevent it for the wrong reasons that people are more likely to choose to research, for example, legal protections rather than tax evasion. Of course, it is good to have professors who also work in practice, but the balance in our sector seems to be lost among scholars who hold additional positions or not own them.”

Recording improvement

According to the overall regulation of VSNU Universities, progress has been made in recent years with the registration of additional positions held by professors. The most recent inventory (Spring 2021) shows that additional activities for 95 percent of all professors are online. In 2017, this percentage was 87%. Among the talented professors, 83 percent completed their additional activities in 2021, compared to 64 percent in 2017. Registering additional positions for professors and professors with special assignments remains a priority at universities. According to VSNU, the importance of explicitly and transparently stating relevant additional situations will continue to draw attention.”

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