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War ‘having grave impact’ on Ukraine’s research and innovation

More than one-third of country’s research infrastructure reported to have been damaged or destroyed

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “is having a grave impact” on the latter country’s research and innovation ecosystem, according to EU officials.

As of March this year, 35 per cent of Ukraine’s research infrastructure had been damaged or destroyed by Russia, up from 15 per cent in November 2022, the Council of the EU member state governments said in a briefing note published last week.

A quarter of scientific workers have left the country, it added, “while many others have changed their careers or decided to join defence forces”.

‘Decades of progress undermined’

Furthermore, the note said public R&I funding “has been cut to a minimum”, while power cuts and other connectivity problems are also hampering R&I.

“These events have undermined decades of scientific progress and significantly drained Ukraine of its intellectual talent, which will pose massive challenges for rebuilding Ukraine’s modern and sustainable future,” the note said.

Consequently, it said, Ukraine will need more than the “small-scale and fragmented” R&I support initiatives that have been put in place so far: it will also need reconstruction of facilities, policy reforms, capacity-building and financial resources.

The note, produced for the European Research Area and Innovation Committee that advises the EU on R&I policy, therefore concludes that R&I should be included in assessments of, and political discussions about, the broad aid and support Ukraine needs.