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The European response to the crisis facing Ukrainian students, scholars, and scientists:

The role of the higher education and research sectors in developing appropriate solutions to both immediate needs and rebuilding

Wednesday 15 June 2022

9:00 am - 14:00 pm CEST

The UN Refugee Agency reports that there are 6.1 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled the country following Russian invasion. A much larger number are internally displaced. Governments and humanitarian organizations have responded rapidly to meet the immediate humanitarian crisis, yet there is growing concern on how to broaden areas of protection and support with a longer-term perspective in mind. Institutions in the Higher Education and Research sectors have mobilised to provide immediate support, but will also play a key role in helping keep Ukraine’s higher education and research sectors as operational as possible, and prepare for the rebuilding of these sectors as soon as it is viable to do so.

Science for Ukraine, Kristiania University College, All European Academies (ALLEA), and the International Science Council (ISC) are jointly organizing an online conference on 15 June 2022. The conference seeks to bring different stakeholders together to discuss best practices, begin planning for medium to long-term actions to support and redevelop Ukraine’s higher education and research sectors and to strengthen relationships within Europe. Maintaining and extending in-country and international research collaborations, preserving existing, and rebuilding damaged education and research systems and infrastructure, will ultimately serve to lay the groundwork for peace that collectively benefits societies and people across borders. 

This is neither the first, nor is it likely to be the last time that large numbers of academics, scholars and researchers will be displaced, and it is necessary that the lessons learned are not forgotten: 

  • It is important to maximize the impact of short-term interventions for the long-term, and to create sustainable, resilient and responsive structures in order to better respond to such situations now and in the future.
  • It is essential to harness the current level of support towards Ukraine to push for fairer and more humane policies and systems for at-risk, displaced and refugee scholars from all regions of the world. 

We hope that this conference will identify recommendations on how to take these objectives forward.

Conference aims

The conference aims to bring together key stakeholders in Europe to address the international crisis of the war in Ukraine, specifically its impact relating to academia and scientific research. Invited guests include members of the higher education and research sectors, relevant government bodies (e.g., ministries of education, science, and technology), funding and donor agencies, and humanitarian organizations. Participants will consider current initiatives and their intended impacts, as well as identifying the future action needed to rebuild the Ukrainian higher education and research sectors. Recommended actions that result from conference proceedings will likely be applicable to future crises and should be situated within existing policy frameworks and international documents. Such initiatives outline the well-being and protection of individuals as well as the preservation and rebuilding of the knowledge, systems, and structures of the academic and scientific sectors.

Intended Outcomes
1. To share and identify best practices for how the European higher education and research sectors  can offer impactful support that addresses the actual needs of Ukrainian scholars and researchers.
1. A shared list of recommended and/or best practices and programmes for European higher education and research sector stakeholders to support Ukrainian scholars and researchers.
2. To identify priorities for medium and long-term plans for the ongoing support and rebuilding of the scientific and academic systems of Ukraine to ensure resilient higher education and research structures and systems.
2. A set of priority actions and recommendations (at both the programme and policy level) for the European higher education and research sector to guide the medium and long- term support for the rebuilding of the scientific and academic systems of Ukraine.
3. To maintain momentum for advocacy and support for the Ukrainian higher education and research sectors beyond the initial emergency response.
3. The outline of a plan for a future event that builds on the outcomes of this conference.