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Support for Ukrainian universities ‘must shift to long-term measures’

Image: Bartosz Brzezinski [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Failure to provide sustainable support to institutions could impede country’s reconstruction, European University Association warns

Support for Ukrainian universities should shift from emergency relief to more long-term measures, the European University Association has recommended.

Amid the devastation caused by Russia’s invasion, governments, national funders and universities across the EU have offered support to Ukraine’s research and higher education sector through various measures, including placements or fellowships for academics to carry out their research abroad. But in a report published on 6 July, the EUA pointed out that the war is now in its second year, with “no end in sight”.

This means that “support for Ukrainian higher education and research must shift from emergency relief to more sustainable and long-term support measures”, it said.

Failure to provide Ukrainian universities with sustainable support could cause “significant long-term damage and impede Ukraine’s reconstruction”, the group warned.

It recommended that European universities should “enhance” their offers to host Ukrainian students, academics and university staff. It also urged European governments to remove barriers that could prevent Ukrainian researchers from going to their countries.

Rebuilding plans

The EUA said that support should be delivered through partnerships with Ukrainian universities, allowing institutions in the country to continue their academic work and contribute to the international research community.

It added that the higher education and research sector should be considered in reconstruction measures and rebuilding plans.

Despite the ongoing war, the Ukrainian government has already vowed to invest in the reform of the higher education and research system in the country, the EUA pointed out.

Europe is “well placed” to contribute to the Ukrainian government’s reform goal due to its diversity of higher education systems and “wide experience” with reform processes, the group said. 

Its recommendations were based on the work of a dedicated task force and consultations with its member organisations and partners. The EUS said they “do not intend to prescribe certain actions, but to enhance collaboration and dialogue on how to better advance together”.