OPERATE – Application to assess opportunities & risks of research cooperation

OPERATE (Operational procedure to assess opportunities and risks of international STI cooperation) is a methodical application for scientists to assess opportunities and risks when cooperating with international partners.

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Opportunities and risks in international scientific cooperation

While scientists mainly concentrate on the opportunities of their research collaborations, ministries or security authorities primarily focus on the assessment of risks in international cooperation. As policy makers often lack the specialist knowledge, an assessment is often not nuanced, cannot foresee future opportunities or weigh opportunities against risks. This carries the risk of uninformed decisions, to prematurely restrict collaborations that are of high benefit for humanity and knowledge creation, or that risks are not recognised and measures to mitigate them not applied. For a more balanced assessment, the affected scientists and experts have to be involved.

Video about OPERATE

Learn more about OPERATE with our introduction video.

Science itself must be part of an appropriate and comprehensive review of opportunities and risks.

The OPERATE procedure

The OPERATE procedure has been developed by the DLR Projektträger since 2021.

The objectives of OPERATE are

    • to provide a methodical framework to include scientists and researchers in the assessment of opportunities and risks when cooperating with international partners;
    • to raise awareness and foster exchange among stakeholders in higher education, research and innovation institutions on possible opportunities and risks to make better informed decisions.

Online application

With the OPERATE online application research collaborations can be assessed on a case-by-case level. The assessment can be carried out by universities and research organisations internally. Via a systematic assessment and discussion process OPERATE aims at weighing risks against opportunities and stimulating a targeted process of opportunity enhancement and risk mitigation.

OPERATE can only be used by registered users, called Operators. Operators are key personnel at higher education institutes, research centres or central agencies who plan, initiate and control individual assessments.

If you want to become an Operator, please fill out the application form and send it to safeguarding-science@dlr.de.

Who can benefit from OPERATE?

The target group are the main risk carriers, namely scientifically responsible leadership on various levels and those who decide on the scientific orientation and project development at universities and research organisations. Furthermore, OPERATE sensitizes scientists and administrative experts of universities and research organisations, such as departments for research funding and international cooperation.

Participants will benefit from the assessment because:

  • they are directly involved in the risk assessment (administrational staff),
  • can transfer the results to their remits (scientist covering the research field),
  • are better trained for future cooperation decisions (scientist with regional expertise, staff from international offices).

Video: An introduction to OPERATE

Who can benefit from OPERATE?

The target group are the main risk carriers, namely scientifically responsible leadership on various levels and those who decide on the scientific orientation and project development at universities and research organisations. Furthermore, OPERATE sensitizes scientists and administrative experts of universities and research organisations, such as departments for research funding and international cooperation.

Participants will benefit from the assessment because:

  • they are directly involved in the risk assessment (administrational staff),
  • can transfer the results to their remits (scientist covering the research field),
  • are better trained for future cooperation decisions (scientist with regional expertise, staff from international offices).

Dowload the OPERATE information flyer: