War in Ukraine: Support for Ukrainian researchers and students

Russian government forces have been attacking Ukraine for a week. Many Ukrainians are fleeing. Scientists are also leaving the country. In Germany, various scientific organizations have started providing assistance: the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Independent University.

The DFG wants to integrate migrant scientists from Ukraine into the German scientific system in the short term, as announced in the forest on Wednesday. So they should be able to continue their scientific work. This should be part of their existing initiative for refugee scientists. Support is also open to Russian researchers who are now forced to flee.

Funding for a research project between German and Russian scientists by DFG has already been suspended; According to the announcement, only German parts of the project will continue to be financed. From now on, no data, samples, devices or other scientific material should be exchanged between existing collaboration projects. Overall, DFG has supported more than 300 German-Russian research projects over the past three years, with a total volume of 110 million euros in its various funding types and programs.

Do not destroy the bridge of Russian scientists

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has also responded to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Institutional and material exchanges with Russia have stopped, but communication will continue, the foundation said Thursday. Researchers at risk of war receive bureaucratic support and asylum: The Foundation proposes special regulations for the stay of alumni from Ukraine and for the extension of scholarships. Fundraisers from Russia who are threatened because of their critical attitude towards the war should also be able to stay in Germany with these devices. For researchers fleeing Ukraine, the application deadline for the existing Philip Schwartz Initiative has been extended to March 18 and the nomination process has been simplified.

Russian scientists can still apply for grants from the foundation, but will be subject to rigorous investigation. Existing bridges should not be destroyed: “We provide protection and support to everyone who is committed to understanding and cooperation,” commented Hans-Christian Pep, president of the foundation. “We place our hope and confidence in the power of scientific collaboration to contribute to the long-term resolution of this existential crisis that affects all of us,” Pep said.

In addition to the existing arrangements, the Foundation is working on new funding offers such as short-term scholarships or a platform aimed at bringing together refugee and scientific hosts in a more rapid and professionally appropriate manner. Over the next three years, the foundation expects an additional funding of around 23 million euros. For this, the foundation will try to get endorsement from individual or business.

The Volkswagen Foundation also provided funding so that Ukrainian scientists could continue their work at a German university or research institute, according to a foundation announcement on Friday. Applications can now be submitted for a funding period of six to 12 months. Successful applicants receive a monthly grant of between 1,500 and 2,100 euros, depending on their career level. Scientists from German universities and research institutes are invited to submit applications to Ukrainian researchers who want to provide a workplace in their working group or in their institute.

Regional support and individual university initiatives

According to the state government, the state of Brandenburg is the only federal state with chairs in Ukrainian studies: at the University of Potsdam and at the European University of Frankfurt (Oder), Vyadrina. It announced on Thursday that support for Ukrainians already started in Brandenburg would be extended. The country’s universities are said to help the people of Ukraine in their search for university places, jobs and science, accommodation, language courses and psychosocial care. It is important that temporary employment is not the only issue. Refugee students and researchers should be given a perspective on science. For this purpose a nationwide platform will be created for offers of networking assistance.

The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state and its universities are organizing a “science bridge” for Ukraine, state science minister Betina Martin announced in Schwerin on Thursday. Psychological support will be provided for Ukrainian students and there will be more language and integration courses. There are also guides who look after potential students.

The Technical University (TU) Berlin is raising funds for a newly established aid fund that can be used to directly assist Ukrainian scientists and students. The funds raised will be provided as bridging money or as scholarships for researchers and students from Ukraine. The university has announced plans to reimburse course fees for German lessons. So TU Berlin itself will provide a basic stock of money. Professor Christian Thomsen, President of TU Berlin, explained, “Through the aid fund, we want to create opportunities for direct assistance in science and studies.”

Last Updated on 03/04/2022 at 12:37 pm, First Published at 12:05 pm

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