Swedish higher education institutions are now engaging in a joint effort in order to host Ukrainian researchers. A united group of representatives from Sweden’s scientific community states that in these challenging times, we must do our utmost to help a country that is at war.
Ukraine is facing a humanitarian disaster. In this urgent situation, saving lives and helping people who are fleeing is vital. Much of the global community has reacted forcefully to the violations of human rights we are now witnessing in Ukraine, and the future is in many ways uncertain.
Academic freedom and the autonomous search for knowledge are important cornerstones of a functioning democracy, and vital to societal development. Alongside the human suffering and hardship, we are deeply concerned about how the conditions for science in Ukraine are at risk and that they may remain so for a long time to come.
In a united Swedish action, we will therefore offer Ukrainian researchers the opportunity to stay in Sweden for varying periods of time. These opportunities could encompass participation in research environments, access to infrastructure or facilitating research that is prevented in their homeland.
“The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine plays a central role in the country’s research and we want to support our sister academy at this time of crisis,” says Hans Ellegren, Secretary General at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. “Research is international in its character and fundamental academic values are at risk. We are now announcing scholarships for Ukrainian researchers to work in Sweden and offering places to Ukrainian researchers at our institutes.”
Many actors, both in Sweden and abroad, are supporting Ukraine through a range of initiatives. Research financiers can make an important effort for Ukrainian science by targeting funding for visiting researchers from this invaded nation. Scholars at Risk, which supports vulnerable researchers by connecting them with safe havens at higher education institutions, is a central actor, as is the refugee committee at the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, which is now being regrouped.
“There is enormous commitment at our higher education institutions and this joint initiative is one way of showing our resolve,” says Astrid Söderbergh Widding, vice-chancellor of Stockholm University and chair of the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions. “We are prepared to find individual solutions to suit the needs of individual researchers, and we are holding discussions with a range of financiers to find way to provide joint support for researchers fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.”
Hans Ellegren, Secretary General, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Phone: +46-8-673 95 02
Astrid Söderbergh Widding, vice-chancellor of Stockholm University, chair of the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions