Give to scientists who have lost everything in their country due to war unleashed by Russia in Ukrainea new home and a new homeland – this is how the founders of the “academy in exile” Cologne/Bonn Academy in Exile (CBA) explain their motivation. Cologne and Bonn universities, belonging to the largest universities in Germany, decided to support primarily Ukrainian researchers and provide them with the opportunity to continue their scientific activities in Germany. The offer of assistance is also addressed Russians and Belarusianswho have lost their jobs or persecuted because they condemn military actions in Ukraine, as well as if they support the civil movement in their country or participated in opposition protests, for example, after the 2020 elections in Belarus.
The new academy invites professors, postdocs, candidates of sciences and, in some cases, graduate students. As Angelika Nußberger, professor from Cologne and one of the organizers of the new project, explains in an interview with DW, both universities plan to allocate ten jobs for them on university premises. “It’s about giving scientists a clear structure again, an office, a place where they will work with other people,” she clarifies. In addition to logistics, scientists are promised support in solving administrative issues. Scholarships not included in this program. But the founders of the academy promise to help with applying for individual funding to various support funds.
Focus on the European perspective and connections in the scientific community
The new project is intended primarily for representatives of legal and historical sciences, political science, as well as cultural studies or linguistics. Decisive for admission to the academy is the thematic direction of the scientist’s work. European values, history of Europe, comparison of political and legal systems, comparative linguistics – the research project should be related to Europe. This decision is partly connected with granting Ukraine the status EU candidate.
In addition to working on projects, workshops and seminars will be organized for the participants of the academy to promote scientific exchange. To establish contacts with scientists outside the academy, it is planned to organize a summer school. Therefore, knowledge of English is important – knowledge of German is desirable, but not necessary. The possibility of organizing teaching online, for example, for students in Ukraine, is also being considered.
Deadlines for applications and work of the academy
Applications will be accepted until the end of July. And there are a lot of people who want to work in Cologne or Bonn – about five dozen applications that meet the criteria have already been received. Basically, scientists from Ukraine turn to the founders of the academy. And if in the case of Ukrainians the reasons for the forced move to Germany are obvious, then scientists from Russia and Belarus will have to pass a test and prove that they were victims of persecution for political reasons. In this, the founders of the academy rely on the experience German Academic Exchange Service DAAD and organizers of the international program for refugee scientists Scholars at Risk.
The organizers have not yet named the exact dates for the start of the “academy in exile”. The first step is to recruit a sufficient number of suitable candidates and find funding for them. This may take up to six months. It is planned that scientists will spend two or three years in Cologne or Bonn, but much depends on the further development of the political situation. In general, says Angelika Nusberger, the academy is conceived as a long-term project. For more information about this support initiative and how you can participate, contact [email protected] or [email protected]