A year of commitment to researchers from Ukraine

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Rapid aid agreed, support for around a hundred refugees, cooperation with the Ukrainian research funder, the NRFU – the SNSF has been committed to helping Ukrainian researchers since the war began. This is not going to change.

Anyone who checked their phone for news reports or turned on the radio on the morning of 24 February one year ago quickly found that their fears had become reality: Russia had invaded Ukraine. From the outset, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) condemned the invasion in the strongest possible terms and agreed measures as quickly as possible to support researchers who fled to Switzerland from Ukraine. “The situation is simply intolerable and we will do everything we can to help our colleagues in Ukraine,” Matthias Egger, President of the National Research Council, said at the time.

Supported researchers can stay longer

In March 2022, the SNSF together with Scholars at Risk made available 9 million Swiss francs allowing around 100 researchers from Ukraine to continue their work at a Swiss university into spring 2023. In autumn 2022, the SNSF decided that the measures for the researchers already receiving support, almost all of whom are women, would be extended for a year. “It was clear that the war was not going to end soon. We have a responsibility towards these colleagues and wanted to offer them certainty at an early stage,” Egger explained. Just under 90 researchers will make use of the extension, almost the entire group.

The SNSF also signed an agreement with the National Research Foundation of Ukraine (NRFU) in summer 2022. This year there will be a coordinated call for proposals from the SNSF and the NRFU in which researchers from Ukraine and Switzerland can submit joint projects. “We must maintain the connection with Ukraine as a research centre despite the difficult circumstances,” says Egger with conviction. “The country is suffering a serious brain drain. We want to do something to stop this.“