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Young researchers in Ukraine say they are struggling financially


Academic generation “will be lost” without intervention, Eurodoc warns

Young researchers in Ukraine have revealed they are struggling financially and are being forced to take on other jobs to support themselves due to the ongoing Russian invasion of their country.

Early career researchers from across Ukraine met leaders of the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) in Kyiv on 21 July and set out the challenges they are facing.

After the meeting, Eurodoc warned that “without intervention, an academic generation will be lost”, as young researchers in Ukraine are leaving the profession.

There are now only about 11,000 young researchers in Ukraine, which is about 5,000 fewer than before the war, Eurodoc said.

“Some have left academia, some have left the country, some have left to fight the war, but the key reason that the number has dropped significantly is because fewer have been employed as young scientists compared to before the war,” it said.

Since the war started, the percentage of Ukraine’s GDP going to higher education and research has dropped from 1.7 per cent to 0.4 per cent, according to Eurodoc, whose leaders also met representatives of the ministry of science and the office of the president during their visit.

Early career researchers are experiencing “deteriorating” working conditions, Eurodoc said. Young researchers’ salaries of €200-€300 a month are “no longer sufficient”, it said, and this has left many working several jobs.

The shortage of researchers also means that those who remain have a bigger workload, while many no longer have access to their workplace or research materials, Eurodoc said.

Eurodoc president Sebastian Dahle said after the meeting that young Ukrainian researchers were “struggling to make ends meet, both privately and professionally”.

“The lack of funding means lack of access to the tools, equipment, software that is needed to conduct research, in all fields from science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the humanities,” he said.

He reiterated a call being made by Eurodoc for dedicated EU funding and support to help the research and education sector in Ukraine.