Two months after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year the UK National Academies (Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society) and the Council for At-Risk Academics, or CARA, established a fellowship program allowing academics at risk to come to Britain to study for up to two years. The initial focus of the program is on Ukraine-based researchers seen as in the line of fire, but the effort is expected to widen in the future to support imperiled academics more broadly.
The Researchers at Risk Fellowships program initially received £3 million from the British government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and a half million pounds from the Nuffield Foundation, an independent charitable trust. Last week the program received an additional infusion of cash – £9.8 million – from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, also contributed £50,000 to provide discretionary support for researchers relating to travel, visas, housing expenses and the cost of living.
“In Ukraine we see the most recent and vivid example of the devastating consequences of war. And as an academic publisher we are proud to join forces with the British Academy to play a small part in supporting those researchers who are now at risk,” detailed Ziyad Marar, SAGE’s president of Global Publishing. “As an academic publisher building bridges to knowledge SAGE is devoted to supporting researchers and enabling them to do their vitally important work. Researchers and educators around the world are dealing with hardship and oppression on many levels and it’s my firm hope that this initiative, going beyond the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine, will be broadened to support scholars at risk around the world.”
Since its launch in April, the Researchers in Risk Fellowships effort has supported 27 Ukrainian academics. With the additional funding, the program is expected to support around another 130 Ukrainian researchers. The fellowships cover established, senior mid-career, postdoctoral or equivalent researchers in the natural sciences, medical and health sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences and the arts. Applications are made via UK-based institutions.
The latest submission window for applications opened on June 30 and closes on July 20; see details about how to apply.
A description on The British Academy website explains that the program complements existing efforts by UK institutions, including their cooperation with CARA. The fellowship program allows these institutions to provide additional two-year fellowships – at about £37,000 annually — to researchers at risk. “Researchers and innovators supported through this Programme,” according to the website, “will be able to take up these temporary fellowships at UK institutions, continue their research, enhance their skills and build long-lasting collaborative links with UK counterparts.”