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Assessing the support offered to displaced Ukrainian scientists

A new report by #ScienceForUkraine quantifies and assesses the adequacy of the support mechanisms in meeting the needs of displaced Ukrainian scientists. The study also explores implications for policymakers and scientific institutions for the effective design and implementation of support programmes aimed at scientists in times of crisis.

To meet the needs of displaced Ukrainian scientists, the global scientific community spontaneously initiated various forms of support, but their adequacy has been difficult to assess. This new survey report by #ScienceForUkraine, entitled Scientific Support Offers for Ukrainians: Determinants, Reasons and Consequences, provides an urgently needed window into the nuanced factors determining the supply, demand, and success of support.

As emphasized by the authors, despite the substantial impact of the war on Ukrainian science and the prioritization of the issue by European and US science policy-makers, there is a lack of comprehensive understanding regarding the concrete outcomes of the support programmes. To gain valuable insights from this crisis and enhance the resilience of the science sector, it is imperative to meticulously assess the effectiveness of these programmes, determining if these efforts were indeed sufficient and addressing the scientists’ actual needs.

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Key findings

Following the analysis of support offers from 2,400 potential hosts, the authors highlighted the following key findings:

  1. Scholarships represent the most in-demand type of support offered, likely due to the inherent flexibility in these positions when compared to other roles. 
  1. The social sciences and humanities represent the disciplines with the highest demand for support, which may be partly explained by the fact that mostly women were allowed to leave Ukraine following its invasion, that a large proportion of Ukraine’s female scientists worked in the social sciences, and that these disciplines experienced more severe funding cuts compared to the natural sciences.  
  1. Researchers seeking support exhibited virtually no preference for specific host countries, indicating a prioritization of security, immediate support, and research fit over long-term career prospects related to a country’s wealth or scientific prominence. 

For policymakers and academic institutions, the primary recommendations underscore the importance of flexibility in financial aid and advocate for a more nuanced approach to addressing the diverse needs of the scientific community.

Global science institutions, like the International Science Council (ISC), have also encouraged new policies to mitigate a post-war brain drain – such as making it easier for displaced Ukrainian scientists to maintain their home institutional affiliations, and funding international partnerships with Ukrainian institutions that will continue after the war.

For more information: 

  • Rose, Michael and Jurikova, Katarina and Pelepets, Marina and Slivko, Olga and Yereshko, Julia, Scientific Support Offers for Ukrainians: Determinants, Reasons and Consequences (January 4, 2024). Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 24-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4683969
  • Contact the corresponding author, Michael Rose from the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition at michael.rose@ip.mpg.de.

You can help #ScienceForUkraine by contributing to their new Academic Micro Travel Grant Programme, which aims to assist Ukrainian scientists in academic travel throughout 2024.


Protecting science in times of crisis: new paper from the Centre of Science Futures

In an era marked by escalating geopolitical conflicts, the sanctity and resilience of the global scientific community have never been more crucial. A soon to be released report, Science in Times of Crisis: How do we stop being reactive and become more proactive? emerges at a critical juncture, addressing the urgent need to protect scientists, academics, and educational institutions increasingly targeted in various global crises.

The paper takes stock of what the international scientific community learned over the years in supporting refugee and displaced scientists. More importantly, it identifies a series of issues and areas for action that need to be prioritized if we are to become collectively better at protecting scientists, science, and research infrastructures in times of crisis.

In anticipation of the publication, the Centre has released a set of infographics capturing some of the key points developed at length in the upcoming paper.


War in Ukraine: exploring the impact on the science sector and supporting initiatives

The International Science Council and its partner, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA), held wo virtual conferences that mobilized the scientific community to evaluate the protection and efforts implemented to support Ukrainian scientists since 2022, while assessing ways forward for enhanced support and post-conflict reconstruction. 

The conferences led to the release of recommendations addressed at policy-makers and science insitutions to build the resilience of science system and research community in times of crisis, focusing on the war in Ukraine, and designed for global application to other crises. 


One year of war in Ukraine: exploring the impact on the science sector and supporting initiatives

This report presents recommendations to strengthen scientists and science systems’ resilience in times of crisis. While designed as a response to the war in Ukraine, the recommendations are applicable to other crises.


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Disclaimer
The information, opinions and recommendations presented in this article are those of the individual contributor/s, and do not necessarily reflect the values and beliefs of the International Science Council.

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