Open Letter: Action Steps for Rebuilding Ukraine’s Science, Research, and Innovation

Ukrainian flag silhouetted by sun
(Photo: geralt/Pixabay)

On June 13 the national science academies of the United States, the all-European academy and those of four separate European countries released, with the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the following statement. The short statement offers 10 specific steps on rebuilding “a modern and globally integrated science and research system” in Ukraine now, even as the Russian invasion continues unabated.

This is not the first public support the science academies offered Ukraine. On March 2, the academies of the Group of 7 nations released a statement urging Russia to end its “unprovoked” attack immediately.

We, the leadership of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the ALLEA European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, met in Warsaw, Poland on June 2, 2022. The aim of the meeting was to discuss and agree on steps to build a strong science, innovation, research, and training system in Ukraine. Our discussions recognized the challenges in making progress given the still ongoing invasion by Russian forces, but also were driven by an understanding that rebuilding science and research in Ukraine, are critical to ensure its long-term prosperity and sovereignty. As such, we strongly encourage that while global leaders develop programs and make funding commitments for Ukraine, there should be a focus on rebuilding a modern and globally integrated science and research system. The 10 actions articulated below are practical steps that can be taken by scientific communities of our countries, and also those around the world. While some of the actions can be achieved in the near term, others will depend on the evolving military and security situation in Ukraine. The list is subject to expansion and readjustment, and takes into consideration past experiences in dealing with war-affected countries.

  1. Maintain institutional affiliations in Ukraine for Ukrainian researchers receiving temporary appointments abroad, in order to encourage repatriation once hostilities cease and the overall situation improves.
  2. Develop specific funding programs directed to early-career researchers from Ukraine and their teams, including such using remote working agreements.
  3. Establish funding programs for joint research by international teams with researchers working in Ukraine and provide for joint appointments.
  4. Provide access to specialized research facilities abroad, especially those that duplicate Ukrainian facilities damaged or destroyed during the hostilities.
  5. Provide remote, free access to scholarly journals to Ukrainian research institutions.
  6. Grant waivers for Article Processing Charges (APC), membership dues in scientific organizations, and conference participation fees for researchers and research organizations in Ukraine.
  7. Establish brain circulation measures for Ukrainian researchers for networking and mutual learning with colleagues and organizations in the international scientific community.
  8. Donate much needed and still useable laboratory and research equipment to Ukrainian institutions to replace capabilities destroyed during the war.
  9. Plan for post-war science recovery of Ukraine with the future needs of the nation in mind, including the modernization of Ukraine’s research, early-stage innovation and education.
  10. Establish a coordination council to maximize impacts, minimize redundancy, and make meaningful use of synergies, accounting for issues related to junior and senior-level researchers.

Antonio Loprieno
All European Academies

Gerald Haug
German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Marcia McNutt
National Academy of Sciences (USA)

Anatoliy Zagorodny
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Jerzy Duszyński
Polish Academy of Sciences

Marie Louise Nosch
Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters

Robin Grimes
The Royal Society

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