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Ukraine appeals for support from research community


“Science is not beyond politics,” says head of National Research Foundation of Ukraine

The head of Ukraine’s national research funder has appealed to the international R&D sector to continue to support academics in the country amid the ongoing war. 

Olga Polotska, executive director of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine (NRFU), urged research organisations across the world to stop cooperating with Russia and Belarus, which is supporting Russia’s invasion of her country.

Many European governments and research organisations have already ended official research collaborations with the two countries, although some have made a distinction between dealings with state organisations and individual researchers.

Polotska encouraged such suspensions of academic ties during a conference on the impact of the war on R&D, held online on 20 March by the International Science Council.

“It is often said that science is beyond politics. Under the current circumstances, it is impossible to agree with this idealistic statement,” she said.

“Science is not beyond politics. Scientific sanctions are vital.”

Polotska listed ways that the research community could help Ukrainian academics, including continued financial support and schemes enabling Ukrainians to collaborate internationally.

She also urged international research organisations to pledge money to the NRFU’s fundraising campaign to pay grants for projects that were successful in its pre-war funding calls. Last year, the grant budget was redirected toward national defence and the 2023 budget covers just 60 per cent of the total needed. 

This article also appeared in Research Europe