Radboud University Code of Conduct

The Executive Board has determined the Code of Conduct of the Radboud University. This Code of Conduct contains the principles of behaviour for staff members of the Radboud University. This Code of Conduct is a framework for ethical conduct, which refers to different regulations. These regulations, which you can find on the University's website, contain in-depth rules about specific situations and/or concrete explanations of behaviour.


We are all representatives of Radboud University. We take responsibility for our own actions and reflect on them beforehand and afterwards. Important questions to constantly be asking are, for example: how do we treat each other, are we really listening and how is everyone doing? If we have doubts, then it is important to express these doubts and discuss them. Even is unacceptable events occur, it is essential that you know where you can go to discuss them in confidence.

As staff members of Radboud University, we demonstrate leadership in which courage, connection, openness, and recognition and rewards are central. We can justify our choices and are accountable for our behaviour.  We engage each other in discussion to talk about dilemmas. Even if the Code of Conduct or the regulations do not provide for specific circumstances, we are responsible for our own ethical conduct.

General information

Radboud University wants to create an inspiring, pleasant and safe work environment for everyone. Here, people of different nationalities and diverse backgrounds come in contact with each other and work together. Radboud University strives to create a climate of academic freedom, where open discussion and freedom of mind, thought and speech are paramount. We expect everyone affiliated with our university – from students to staff to visitors – to treat each other with respect. This is, regardless of gender, origin, religious belief, political beliefs, sexual preference, disability, role or position. We expect everyone to actively contribute to creating a safe working environment within the institution.

The Radboud University has developed their vision on leadership: ‘Courage, connection and candour.’ This vision emphases the importance of (personal) leadership, considering that leadership is reflective of the organisation. To this end, ethical conduct and honestly play a central role. By acting with ethical conduct, we mean being reliable, truthful, sincere and respectful in your behaviour. Everyone who has anything to do with Radboud University must be able to trust that the University and her staff will act ethically and set an example with our research, teaching, our impact and the way we treat each other - as an institution and as individuals.

Ethical conduct can be interpreted in different ways, so it is important how we talk about it, now and in the future. Integrity only really comes to life in daily practice and in the discussions we have with each other about it. It is a question of being aware of interests and possible effects, of weighing things up and making choices. Through regular reflection and discussion, it is possible to further specify and crystallise what integrity means for our behaviour in practice.

To whom does this Code of Conduct apply?

The Code of Conduct applies to all staff members at Radboud University, including student assistants, interns and on-call workers. As well as staff, Radboud University employs other parties, such as (externally hired) guest lecturers and researchers, contractors and temporary workers. This Code of Conduct also applies to them.

The Code of Conduct and the underlying regulations are not optional. The underlying regulations are legally binding. The Code of Conduct is therefore a supplement to (existing) regulations, and not a legally binding. The Code is intended to allow for discussion with staff members in instance of unacceptable behaviour. In case of serious violations, this may lead to disciplinary actions.

This Code of Conduct is not intended for students. The Student Charter applies to them.

Common values

The Code of Conduct contains a number of core values that guide our professional behaviour. The University strives towards an environment in which each staff member:

  1. can be sincere, honest and unbiased in their behaviour towards other staff members and students.
  2. has respect for every person and the differences between them, and treats everyone equally: you will refrain from any form of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination; Each staff member treats everyone as they would like to be treated themselves: with respect and with an open mind;
  3. can conduct themselves ethically in an academic context and keep to the professional values of their profession;
  4. endorses academic freedom as a guiding principle in their actions;
  5. does not abuse power, sexually harass and/or pass sexual comments.
  6. refrains from verbal and physical aggression;
  7. is not under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol during work;
  8. does not accept transgressive behaviour directed against themselves or others;
  9. keeps business and private interests separate, and is open about their secondary activities;
  10. handles (confidential) information, research data, interests, (intellectual) property and financial resources with care.

Speak out

Speak out if you have concerns about compliance with the Code of Conduct or the underlying rules and agreements. Even if you think they are being infringed on. Speaking out is a form of personal leadership and may not be easy, but it is very important. By discussing difficult situations with each other, we can learn from each other and help each other figure out how to deal with them. Openly discussing doubts can also prevent breaches of integrity. Talk about it with the person involved, or the people mentioned below.

If you are confronted (or were confronted) with transgressive behaviour, do not keep it to yourself, but speak with a supervisor (or their supervisor), a colleague, your HR advisor/colleague, a confidential advisor, the Ombudsperson or the Executive Board. They are there to help you and will discuss your problems in confidence.

Good employer, good employment

Like any employer, Radboud University has a duty of care. A good employer behaves properly towards its staff members, respects their rights, does not abuse authority, provides good working conditions and creates a safe working environment. A clear policy on integrity is also an essential part of the duty of care. Creating a safe climate is one of Radboud University’s responsibilities, as is making issues surrounding integrity discussable in the organisation and raising awareness.

As a staff member, you are expected to behave as a good colleague would. Good employment practices mean, among other things, that staff members handle powers, resources and information with care and responsibility, and let general interests prevail. Staff members are able to resist temptation and avoid risky situations. Rules should be interpreted according to both the letter and the spirit. Staff members are also prepared to have their decisions (either beforehand or afterwards) assessed and to be held accountable for them.

Ethical conduct is a part of everyday life and is not restricted to the workplace or working hours. In the modern, digital world, the dividing line between work and private life has become thin, so work can take many forms. It is therefore important that you realise, as a staff member, that private behaviour can affect good employment practice and that this can have consequences for the University as an employer. Consider, for example, statements made on social media or behaviour that might be inconsistent with your position at the University. 

Supervisors as role models

All staff members of the University are responsible for their own actions and in doing so serve as an example to others. Managers, supervisors, lecturers and professors at the University are particularly responsible for promoting ethical and respectful behaviour. They carry out policy. They create the conditions for a safe working environment and for inspiring cooperation in teams. They listen to staff members and engage in discussion with them. They call staff members to account for improper conduct and are simultaneously open to criticism and suggestions from staff members. Supervisors are aware of the dependency on and the power imbalance that exists between students and staff. 

Supervisors represent Radboud University as an employer in their daily lives. They have a role as good staff members and good employers. Supervisors help staff to meet the set expectations. In doing so, they support and protect staff members who raise issues concerning unethical conduct. They also call staff members to account for any unethical behaviour and take action, if necessary.

Supervisors are only credible if they set good examples themselves, regardless of their seniority. Inspiring leadership and exemplary behaviour are required of them. They are aware of this at all times, show that integrity is important to them and educate themselves on the subject. They must also recognise risks to integrity in a timely manner, name them and deal with them appropriately. The University's leading vision of ‘Courage, connection and candour’ is the dominating principle.

This means that the organisation also has a responsibility towards its supervisors. They require advice and guidance to be able to fully perform their role. Peer-to-peer consultations between supervisors on integrity issues are also important. Together, management can continue to ensure that integrity is safeguarded sufficiently.

If a difference in insight exists between a staff member and the supervisor about the application of a code of conduct or the underlying regulations, the staff member and the supervisor are free to turn to the superior supervisor.

Confidential advisors and the ombudsperson

Anyone can experience undesirable conduct in the workplace, such as bullying, aggression, abuse of power or (sexual) intimidation. Talking about it with the person in question or your supervisor can be very daunting or, in some situations, even impossible. This is why the University has confidential advisors. A confidential advisor can help determine what you can do yourself to resolve the situation. The confidential advisor can also advise you on other potential courses of action available within Radboud University, such as submitting a complaint to the Complaints Committee for Undesirable Behaviour or refer you through to the Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson can play a role with regard to undesirable behaviour, for example, by investigating larger trends or systematic organisational shortcomings and/or mediating between a whistle blower and the organisation.

Confidential counsellor


Specific rules on behaviour

Undesirable forms of behavior

In order to create a good and safe working environment and study climate, all forms of undesirable behaviour and conduct are unacceptable. Undesirable behaviour is behaviour is so unpleasant that it interferes with work. The definition of ‘undesirable’ is subjective. What is undesirable for one person may not be so for another. This only becomes a problem when the person reporting and the person being reported cannot come to terms.

Some forms of undesirable behaviour are obvious to everyone: discrimination, (sexual) harassment, threats, gossip, bullying, academic sabotage and all kinds of physical and psychological violence. Other forms are more subtle, but can greatly reduce/worsen job satisfaction or the atmosphere in the workplace. The perpetrator may not be aware that they are a burden to you. It is therefore best to point out to them that this behaviour is troubling. You can also ask someone to tell them, for example your supervisor, HR advisor or another colleague. Another option is contacting a confidential advisor. It is important to not keep it to yourself; talk about it! It is also important to speak out if you observe undesirable behaviour as a bystander.

Regulations on undesirable behaviour

Personal relationships in the workplace

It may occur that Radboud University staff members are not just colleagues, but close friends, (former) partners or family members. In these instances, it is particularly important that those involved remain professional and objective, and are aware of the integrity risks, or the appearance of such, that these private relationships may engender. Integrity risks include (the appearance of) partisanship or a lack of objectivity and/or favouritism or disadvantage in the professional relationship.

Situations in which friends, partners or family members work in a hierarchical relationship with each other or assess or monitor each other’s work are undesirable. Of special note is the relationship between a PhD candidate and their (co)promoter/supervisor. The relationship between lecturers and students is a special one, given the dependency and inherent power imbalance in the relationship between them. For the duration of the PhD track, a personal relationship between the PhD candidate and their (co)promoter/supervisor is therefore undesirable. If this is the case for you, you must report it immediately to your supervisor or your supervisor's supervisor, even if you do not believe the relationship poses a risk.  If you so please, you may enlist the assistance of a student advisor or the student dean for this purpose. The supervisor will discuss the possible risks and solutions with you. If necessary, you can make work arrangements, dividing tasks differently or one of the two may go to another department.

There is also an obligation to report if an employee of the University has a professional and private relationship with an external relation of the University, such as a contractor, customer or supplier.

Lecturer-student relationship

The relationship between lecturers and students is a special one, given the dependency and inherent power imbalance in the relationship between them. Lecturers must not abuse the relationship that exists between teachers and students; respectful treatment is of the utmost importance. Lecturers must be aware of this at all times. Lecturers, just like supervisors, must be aware of being role models, and they must embody the standards laid down in this Code of Conduct in both words and deeds.

For the duration of the professional relationship, lecturers must not enter into private relationships with students that could compromise the impartiality or objectivity of the professional relationship or that could result in favouring or disadvantaging a student.

Lecturers must avoid personal contact with individual students in situations or at locations (e.g. receiving a student one-to-one at home) in which they could create the appearance of (sexual) harassment or abuse of power, or which could be interpreted as such in the moment or in retrospect. The University strives to create a safe working environment in which lecturers and other staff members call each other to account for this and alert each other to the prevention of undesirable or potentially undesirable behaviour. 

The above not only applies to lecturers, but to every staff member (academic staff or TSP) who has a professional relationship with students.  If a personal relationship exists or develops, the staff member is obliged to report it. The staff member, together with the supervisor, will look at potential risks and solutions. If necessary, working arrangements will be made, tasks redistributed or the staff member will be transferred to another department.

‘Lecturer’ refers to any staff member who performs teaching duties, regardless of job title. Professors and professors by special appointment are therefore also included, as well as student assistants who teach.

Regulations on personal relationships in the workplace

Dealing with secondary activities

If, as a staff member, you carry out secondary activities alongside your university duties, you are to be transparent about them. In some cases, permission must be granted if you wish to carry out secondary activities. This concerns secondary activities that are clearly related to work at the University, may potentially harm the University’s interests and/or may jeopardise proper and full performance of your duties. Every staff member shall act in accordance with the Regulations on secondary activities.

Regulations on secondary activites

Gifts policy 

Academic integrity

Any actions that violate general professional academic principles are considered breaches of academic integrity. This includes, in all cases, the falsification or manipulation of research data or machinations in data representation. Deception, plagiarism and the unlawful use of intellectual property rights are also considered breaches of academic integrity. All those involved in education and research at our University bear personal responsibility for maintaining academic integrity. Every staff member acts in accordance with the Academic Integrity Regulations.

Regulation on academic integrity

General rules for the protection and exploitation of knowledge

Whistle-blowers Regulation

If you suspect malpractice at the University, the Whistle-blowers Regulation can help. In this context, malpractice is understood as a violation of the law or of regulations, or as a danger to health, safety or the environment. It also applies to wrongful acts or omissions that harm the functioning of the University. The Whistle-blowers Regulation can help people report a suspicion of wrongdoing without getting into trouble. For information, advice and support, you can contact the confidential advisor within the context of the Whistle-blowers Regulation.

Whistle-blowers Regulation

Alcohol and other narcotic substances

As an employer, Radboud University is responsible for the working conditions under which its employees operate. The use of alcohol and/or drugs by a staff member can negatively affect the functioning and employability of the staff member themselves, but also those around them, such as colleagues, students and external parties. This applies to drug and/or alcohol consumption both during and outside working hours. For example, if you use drugs or drink large amounts of alcohol on Sunday evening, you may possibly suffer the consequences at work the next morning and your supervisor may address you on this.

Regulation on alcohol and drug use

Media and social media

Media and social media have become an integral part of our personal and professional lives. The use of all media involves a certain responsibility in relation to your work.

Every staff member is an ambassador for the University in their contact with the outside world. This means that each staff member represents the University to the outside world. Radboud University supports open dialogue, the exchange of ideas and the sharing of knowledge. But it is also good to consider the flip-side of the coin: how do I maintain my privacy and respect that of my colleagues, do I realise that the whole world can see what I am saying, what if others say negative things about me? And equally important: am I being respectful in what I say about my job, colleagues and the University?

Regulation on media and social media