Loughborough University: Loughborough to partner with two Ukrainian universities

Loughborough University has signed memoranda of agreement with two Ukrainian universities, as part of a twinning initiative to offer support to academics, students and university leaders during the conflict.

Loughborough will partner with Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University and O. M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv.

Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University (ONU) is one of the oldest Ukrainian universities, established in 1865, and has the largest and oldest university library in Ukraine, dating back to the 15th century. It has strengths across the natural sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities.

The partnership with Loughborough is being led by Professor John Downey from the School of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). In May, as a springboard for the development of the partnership between the two universities, Paul Maddrell and Dr Ali Bilgic from SSH presented their research to the university in Odesa, and Doctoral Researcher Massimo D’Angelo from Loughborough University London held a session for one of ONU’s Master’s programmes.

The second university with which Loughborough has an agreement is O. M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv (O. M. Beketov NUUEKh), which covers all aspects of the urban economy, such as architecture, business, construction, and engineering infrastructure.

The partnership is being led by Professor Tarek Hassan and Dr Asya Natapov from the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering. Loughborough and O. M. Beketov NUUEKh will undertake a joint project called ‘Building Ukrainian Cities Back from the War Ruins’. Over the summer Loughborough will be supporting a programme called ‘Innovative cities: best practices of post-war reconstruction’ that brings high school students, university students and academics together to propose projects to be implemented through the Ministry of Community and Territorial Development. Loughborough staff will give lectures and be part of the jury that chooses the best projects.

Professor Steve Rothberg, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, says: “We want to undertake projects – research, teaching or administrative – that enable the Ukrainian universities to continue their activities during the Russian conflict and that help them to rebuild when peace returns and flourish beyond the post-war reconstruction. Whatever we do it will be led by the needs and wishes of both ONU and O. M. Beketov NUUEKh.

“If there are other colleagues from Loughborough who are interested in engaging with the initiative, we’d love to hear from you.”

At the initiative’s launch earlier this year, Charles Cormack, Founder and Chairman of Cormack Consultancy Group, which is coordinating the scheme with Universities UK, said: “This project is designed to support Ukrainian universities to continue to function during this difficult time. By supporting them in their mission we are also minimising the risk of brain drain, with academics and students disappearing into the HE systems of other countries.

“It also allows UK universities to focus their support on a particular partner, which allows them to see they are making a real difference to the lives of academics and students and helping to sustain their partner.”