University of Exeter: Ukrainian researchers welcomed under humanitarian programme

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Six researchers from Ukraine are being offered the chance to continue their work in safety in Exeter and Cornwall thanks to a recently launched nationwide programme.

The academics, who are working in the fields of medicine, mathematics, and theology are travelling to the UK as part of the Researchers at Risk Fellowship scheme that offers sanctuary for those facing discrimination, persecution or violence.

Backed by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society and Cara, the Researcher at Risk Fellowship covers two-years of funded work. The six Ukrainian academics will be based at the University of Exeter in either Devon or Cornwall, and will be mentored by an expert in their field. They will be housed under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The announcement comes on the same day that Universities UK – the representative body for all 140 universities in the country – launches a new campaign to support Ukraine. #TwinForHope showcases the impact that partnerships between UK and Ukrainian universities are having.

Welcoming the academics to the institution, Professor Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), said: “The ability to pursue academic endeavours, whether through education, research or civic outreach, is a fundamental right that we all hold true across the international sector. So, we are delighted that we can support these six fellowships and bring together Ukrainian expertise with our Exeter counterparts. Not only will this safeguard their work but form the basis of potential longer-term collaboration.”

Since the start of the Russian invasion, more than 95 professional pre-higher and higher education institutions have been damaged in Ukraine, and at least nine have been destroyed.

More than 75 mutually beneficial twinning partnerships have already been formed between UK and Ukrainian universities under the #TwinForHope initiative, which is being coordinated by UUK and the Cormack Consultancy Group. Exeter is currently developing its first partnership with an institution located in the east of the country.

Under the twinning programme, the universities stay in regular contact via online meetings to build relationships, make plans for sustaining Ukrainian education during the war, and create long-term relationships and potential collaborations.

Vivienne Stern MBE, Chief Executive, Universities UK, said: “I’m really proud of the way that the UK university sector has stepped up to play its part in the global response to enabling Ukrainian universities to get through this war and hopefully emerge stronger.”

Charles Cormack, Chairman, Cormack Consultancy Group, added: “The response has been amazing. I’ve never seen universities respond in such an open-hearted way and to pull down the barriers that normally get in the way of a collaboration and just make things happen.”

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