Nearly 1 in 5 Ukrainian researchers have left the country

Nearly 1 in 5 Ukrainian researchers have left the country

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A new study shows that about 18.5% of researchers in Ukraine left the country due to the war.

Gaetan de Rassenfus is one of the researchers who conducted this study. He works at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

In a new study, researchers received responses from more than 2,500 Ukrainian researchers. This makes the study one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted on this topic. The results are published in the journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communication.


About the study

The study is an analysis of a model to which more than 2,500 Ukrainian researchers responded.

18.5% of Ukrainian researchers left Ukraine because of the war.

Research activity decreased by 20 percent in Ukraine.

23.5% of researchers in Ukraine lack vital resources for their research.

15 percent of researchers still in Ukraine have stopped researching completely.

At the time of the research, Ukraine had lost 7 percent of its researchers.

Among the researchers who left the country, 40.5 percent say they want to return to Ukraine, while 24.8 percent do not know it yet.

Source: “TEffects of the war on Ukrainian research

According to the researchers, the time that researchers in Ukraine have to carry out research activity has decreased by 20 percent. The study shows that 23.5 percent of researchers still in the country have lost access to resources vital to their research, and 20.8 percent cannot physically reach their institutions at all.

As for researchers still in Ukraine, the study notes that “institutions across Europe and beyond can offer a range of support programmes, such as remote visiting programmes, access to digital libraries and computing resources, as well as research grants.”

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Worse than two German occupations

“My city now looks worse after the bombing than it did after being twice occupied by German forces,” Olena Jarmusch says in a press release. She is one of the researchers who left Ukraine because of the war.

I thought for a long time that there would be no invasion. She hoped that the bombs she heard on February 24 around 5 a.m. were the result of maintenance work at the local power station in Kharkiv, where she lives.

— Among Ukraine-based researchers, if they are still alive, approximately 15 percent have left research and others have little time to devote to research given the war conditions, says Gaetan de Rassenfus of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (EPFL).

He is one of the researchers behind the study, to which Iarrosch contributed, as she now lives in Switzerland and conducts research with de Rasenfus at EPFL.

Weak condition

“Our survey shows that Ukraine has lost nearly 20 percent of its top researchers, like Olena,” says de Rassenfus.

Researchers who have migrated are in a vulnerable position at their host institutions, due to temporary contracts, among other things, but also for things like visas, de Rassenfus says. At the same time, according to the study, Ukrainian researchers generally enjoy greater protection from the Ukrainian research environment, and de Rasenfus warns of the consequences this could have for Ukrainian research.

Support from European colleagues and institutions can be of great importance to researchers.

“From a purely academic perspective, moving abroad may make you a better researcher, as our research shows that being abroad means exposure to unfamiliar things,” De Rasenfus continues.

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Jarosz says she had to take things day by day in Switzerland, and that her opportunities as a researcher were greater back home in Ukraine.

—Despite the war, Ukraine is doing a lot to preserve the jobs of researchers and faculty. Education in eastern and southern Ukraine is entirely online. Ukrainian universities still want to keep us. They invite us to activities, ask us for guidance and to continue searching. It is a great honor for all lecturers and researchers. Yarosz says they are trying to preserve college education for young people.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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