Approximately 65,000 Ukrainian doctoral students have been affected by the ongoing war. Some scientists have been continuing to work, shifting their focus to helping and supporting the military, while others were forced to leave the country.
For example, Oleksandr Berezko, associate professor at the Lviv Polytechnic National University, continues to work to help the army: «Researchers are not something specific.» Scientists also find themselves outside their offices helping with the evacuation of people and the provision of humanitarian aid.
About 40% of the country’s science workforce somehow felt the military actions: someone was killed, someone disappeared, someone was forced to leave the country and get refugee status. Also, studies and research activities are slowly returning to the usual rhythm in some cases.
Oleksandr Berezko, associate professor at the Lviv Polytechnic National University: «We teach online, and perhaps some work is done, research is being performed, but there are some restrictions because we have many daily air raids. When you have them, you have to go to the shelter».
Support for Ukrainian researchers
Programmes to support refugee scientists are being launched throughout the European Union. This week, the EU announced the creation of a €25 million scholarship fund with more than 1,750 special grants for researchers.
Eurodoc, the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers estimate around 40,000 Ph.D. candidates, 60,000 junior researchers, and 250,000 bachelor’s and master’s students in Ukraine. Many European universities have already started accepting applications from Ukrainian refugees on special conditions.
Further cooperation with Ukraine
Yevheniia Polishchuk, vice-head of international relations at the Young Scientists Council and an economics researcher at Kyiv National Economic University: «Now our task as researchers is to survive and build our country in a smart way.»
Before the invasion, Ukraine worked closely on reforming and creating a comfortable environment for its researchers. This work should be continued after the end of hostilities so that Ukrainian scientists could return to their research universities.
For the European Union, the main task will be to support ties with Ukrainian researchers. It is worth noting that the association agreement with Ukraine, which provides full access to the EU’s Horizon Europe research programme, has not yet been signed. But the European Commission already considers Ukrainian scientists as full-fledged members of this programme.