UCL launches new Fellowships supporting academics displaced by the conflict in Ukraine

Ukrainian flag. Credit: iStock / Simoncountry
Ukrainian flag. Credit: iStock / Simoncountry

UCL has launched an Academic Sanctuary Fellowship Scheme to support academics being displaced as a result of the crisis in Ukraine following the invasion by the Russian Federation.

To deliver the Scheme, UCL will work in partnership with the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara), with whom the university has a longstanding partnership, to maximise the support.

Cara works with UK universities to place academics who are in immediate danger, forced into exile, or the many who choose to continue working in their home countries despite serious risks.

UCL is committing a further £250,000 to expand capacity to place Fellows at UCL through the scheme. A philanthropic pledge of £250,000 has already been made to match this additional investment.

Fellowships will be open to academics at risk as a result of the conflict, from early career to senior academic levels. They will be for a period of between 12-24 months, depending on individual circumstances.

UCL has a long history of meaningful academic partnership with Ukraine. UCL researchers have co-published more than 200 papers with almost 60 Ukrainian partners over the last five years and have academic links in areas including biological and medical sciences, physics and astronomy. UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) in particular has very strong connections with Ukraine.

The university is also continuing its work with Cara to support at-risk academics to join UCL as Fellows from other countries and locations, in addition to Ukraine.

UCL Ukraine Response Fund

A UCL Ukraine Response Fund has been established to provide much-needed financial support for all of UCL’s response initiatives. In addition to the Academic Sanctuary Fellowship Scheme, it will give lifeline support to current students impacted by the crisis through immediate access to assistance grants and enabling critical support packages for both current and incoming students over the course of the next academic year.

Friends in the alumni and donor community, as well as staff and students, will be able to support response efforts by contributing to the Fund , meaning UCL can respond with urgency and agility as the emergency in Ukraine evolves.

UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael Spence said: "There can be few people who have not been shocked by the suffering and disruption inflicted on the people of Ukraine. At UCL, with our deep connections to the region (not least through the School of Slavonic and East European Studies), there is a huge appetite to do what we can to support the people affected.

"As a globally leading multidisciplinary institution, UCL is extremely well-placed to offer opportunities to researchers and students displaced by conflict and help ensure that their work and opportunities are not lost. We will work as quickly as we can to provide the right support, and we are grateful to be drawing on the expertise of Cara to maximise the effectiveness of this scheme."

Vice-President (Advancement) Angharad Milenkovic added: "We are so grateful for the offers of philanthropic support received to date from across the UCL community, which are enabling us to amplify existing initiatives and act at speed for maximum impact."

UCL is continuing to provide support to impacted staff and students, and will release further guidance to researchers working with Russia and Belarus over the coming week.