University of Bristol: Bristol signs new twinning partnership with the National Aerospace University in Ukraine


The five-year partnership, between Bristol and the specialist aviation and space engineering university based in eastern Ukraine’s second largest city, are working together to set up support schemes to help the Institute’s 2,700 researchers and 7,000 students to continue to work and study. In addition to the sharing of cloud and IT support, the Bristol team are working to establish research and education mobility schemes, provide access to online learning materials, and English and personal development courses.

Established in 1930, Kharkiv’s National Aerospace University was created as a research centre to provide specialists in the field of aerospace engineering, and known for its creation of the first in Europe high-speed plane with a retractable landing gear, and design of the turbojet engine. However, since the invasion, its campus has been targeted by shelling and gunfire by Russian forces, suffering damage to many of its buildings and forcing many of its staff and students to relocate.

Professor Agnes Nairn, Pro Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement at the University of Bristol, said: “We are proud to twin with the National Aerospace University in Ukraine. This partnership marks the start of a long-term collaboration, in which we aim to provide support and resources to help the Institute to continue to operate during these exceptionally difficult times, and importantly, ensure it emerges stronger once the war ends.”

Professor Mykola Nechyporuk, Rector of the National Aerospace University (Kharkiv Aviation Institute), said: “While the daily challenges we face are both devastating and unprecedented, despite these circumstances, this important scheme, thanks to Bristol’s support, gives us much needed hope now and for the future.”

The UK-Ukraine twinning scheme is a collaboration between Universities UK International (UUKi) and Cormack Consultancy Group (CCG), supported by a government contribution of £190,000 of financial assistance. To date, 75 UK institutions have signed a formal partnership with Ukraine higher education institutions.

The partnerships will provide a wide range of practical assistance through:

helping to physically rebuild campuses of Ukrainian universities that have been damaged and destroyed
mutually recognising credits so that English-speaking Ukrainian students can take online courses from UK universities that count towards their final degree
allowing Ukrainian teaching and research to continue in UK laboratories and classrooms where their own facilities were destroyed or damaged
facilitating the sharing of academic resources such as libraries and technical equipment
preserving Ukrainian archives in UK institutions; facilitating more cultural and language exchange opportunities
sharing mental health support – particularly for Ukrainian staff and students suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to conflict
allowing Ukrainian students to ‘catch-up’ on the learning they have missed at summer schools hosted in UK institutions.
Other Bristol initiatives to support Ukrainian students include fundraising led by University academics, which helped a team of budding mathematicians participate in the annual International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

Drs Oleksiy Klurman and Safoura Zadeh, from the University’s School of Mathematics, arranged for a series of training and selection camps to take place. They managed to secure funding from the RICAM institute, the Heilbronn Institute and particularly XTX markets, an algorithmic trading firm.

More than 25 young Ukrainians took part in the camps, with the final six-strong team all receiving medals at the IMO. Mostly impressively, Ihor Pylaiev beat 600 competitors to be crowned the overall winner.

Since then, 10 of the top 11 Ukrainian mathematicians from the camps have been found places at the University of Cambridge and the National Mathematics and Science College.

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