Sign the Declaration

About KEN

Through the development and enactment of the global Declaration on Knowledge Equity, we capture our collective commitment and aspirations to reduce inequalities through increased access to knowledge. The Declaration sets the intention for achieving knowledge equity through the creation of a diverse network spanning virtual and physical spaces.

The Knowledge Equity Network will mainstream openness, accessibly and inclusively, amongst learners, leaders, institutions, organisations and individuals that are committed to the fundamental principle of knowledge equity.

The Network

Global challenges require a collective response. We must break down the barriers that prevent equitable access to knowledge across institutions and geopolitical boundaries. Open and collaborative practices of knowledge creation and dissemination are critical to making knowledge accessible to all, for the common good.

The Knowledge Equity Network brings together our community of signatories, driving the change from competition to collaboration. The emphasis of this global community is to build an effective, ambitious and solutions focused network, which looks at bringing research, education and societal impact to the world in an equitable way. By doing so, we will build greater agility to respond to challenges the world over, providing all with equal opportunities to thrive.

The Network offers regular opportunities to come together through forums and discussions, advancing and monitoring progress as we work towards openness as a global community. A programme of network events examine issues, seek solutions and provide space to exchange ideas and strategies to achieve the Declaration’s goals. Our events give signatories the chance to discuss special areas of interest and specific challenges related to their experiences and needs. The solutions focussed events create a cycle of sharing, learning, change and positive impact.

As a global network, our collective commitment to knowledge equity aims to bring about a cultural shift within Higher Education worldwide, moving towards collaborative, equitable and open practices. We support, learn from and work with each other towards our vision for knowledge equity.

There is much to be achieved through this transformative approach, but together as a network, we are stronger.

Our Principles


We believe in the power of radical collaboration. We must move away from a competitive model towards inclusive, transdisciplinary partnerships with generosity and compassion. It is essential that we strengthen and empower our communities for the benefit of all. We recognise the disparities between the Global South and Global North. True collaboration means multilateral partnerships based on equity, mutual benefit and mutual empowerment.


The Higher Education system is for the good of all, educating the workforce and leaders of tomorrow, enriching cultures, improving health and wellbeing, and driving innovation. Knowledge creation and dissemination are at the heart of this, and this knowledge must be accessible for all people to be used as widely as possible. Our network supports the free flow of ideas to ensure that knowledge is truly universal.

Inclusive & Sustainable

We need to consider all potential beneficiaries of the knowledge we generate, enabling practices that provide equal and fair access to all. We will provide equitable outcomes and a chance for all to succeed. Equal opportunity, inclusion and diversity are guiding principles of our Network. As a global community, we provide space where relationships can be developed across sectors, organisations and communities. Within the Network, we commit to carrying out our practices in inclusive and sustainable ways.

Meet the team

  • Simone Buitendijk

    Professor Simone Buitendijk is the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, a research-intensive university with a commitment to high quality education, globally impactful research and social, economic and cultural impact. She was previously Vice-Provost (Education) at Imperial College London and prior to this, was Vice-Provost at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Since joining the University of Leeds in 2020, she has overseen the development of an ambitious new strategy, Universal Values, Global Change, which provides a blueprint for a values-driven University with a focus on Global Challenges in education, research and societal impact.

  • Image shows the University of Pretoria logo
    University of Pretoria

    The University of Pretoria is proud to be a Co-Founder of the Knowledge Equity Network. The University of Pretoria (UP) is one of Africa’s top universities and the largest contact university in South Africa. UP produces socially impactful research to find solutions for the world’s most pressing issues and has high quality teaching and learning in the classroom, online and in communities.

  • Nick Plant
    Executive Lead

    Professor Nick Plant leads on the development of the University’s research and innovation strategy, creating a research culture and environment which delivers high quality research and impact for the region and beyond. His brief includes promoting partnerships in a number of key sectors, accelerating collaboration across a wide range of academic disciplines and driving recruitment of world-leading academics. Professor Plant came to Leeds as Dean of Research Quality and Impact in 2017, leading on the development and enhancement of the University’s research profile. This included leading the implementation of an institutional-wide quality and impact delivery plan and preparations for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, the system for assessing research quality in UK higher education institutions, as well as ensuring the University continues to invest in its greatest asset: its staff. Before joining the University he was an Associate Professor in Systems Biology at the University of Surrey. He is a science graduate of the University of Nottingham.

  • Fiona Middlebrook
    Executive Officer to Professor Nick Plant
  • Thom Freeth
  • Image shows Masud Khokar, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds
    Masud Khokhar
    University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds
  • Antonio Martínez-Arboleda
    Prof. of Open & Digital Education
  • Chrissi Nerantzi
    Prof. of Creative & Open Education
  • Nick Sheppard
    Open Research Advisor