KNAW fund ‘Science communication by scientists’ awarded to Yvonne Erkens and Robert Heinsch

Two Leiden legal scholars have been awarded funding from the KNAW pilot fund ‘Science communication by scientists: Appreciated!’. The fund supports scientists who have demonstrated a continued commitment to science communication.

Yvonne Erkens

Yvonne Erkens was awarded funding for the Database of Business Ethics (DBBE). This project, set up by Yvonne Erkens and Paul van der Heijden with funding from the Municipality of The Hague, assimilates Codes of Conduct from international listed companies. At the end of 2020, more than 2300 companies had been investigated which resulted in more than 1300 published Codes of Conduct. It is estimated that there are thousands of Codes of Conduct in circulation globally and so the collection of data continues. The texts of the Codes of Conduct collected so far are available on the DBBB website.

The data collected is used to examine the extent to which fundamental labour rights are upheld in global supply chains. At present the investigation focusses on forced labour, child labour, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The plan for 2021 is to extend these points of focus to include anti-discrimination and compliance. One of the most topical issues is compliance with the Codes of Conduct. To communicate the DBBE project’s findings, a quarterly Newsletter Business Ethics And Labour Rights is published which is distributed to subscribers and is also accessible on the DBBE website. ‘The financial assistance from this KNAW pilot fund will be used to make improvements to this newsletter and will be invested in other ways of communication to highlight the research outcomes’.

Robert Heinsch

Robert Heinsch also received KNAW funding for the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum which disseminates knowledge on international humanitarian law (IHL) by communicating research outcomes to broad audiences, providing access to basic and advanced training in IHL, and engaging with diverse target groups on the results and implications of the research. The aim is to maximise the impact of research findings, e.g. to contribute to holding perpetrators of international crimes accountable, while simultaneously generating awareness on the protection and assistance afforded to victims of armed conflict.

The group maintains its own website www.kalshovengieskesforum.com, highlighting its research findings. Over a period of three months (10 September – 10 December 2020), the website registered over 2000 website visits (more than 5450 page views). In early 2021, the website will be updated with research findings from a two-year research project on legal standards for digital evidence for the prosecution of perpetrators of international crimes. The group also aims to build a database of the standards that have been identified during this research project. It intends to make these accessible for international lawyers working at courts and tribunals, as well as to scholars, students, and the interested public. The group is active on social media including Facebook and LinkedIn.

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