Spain to propose EU projects to help revive Ukrainian R&I

Image: European Union, 2022

According to the ministry, the European Commission is already working on an information platform for Ukrainian researchers

Spain’s Ministry of Science and Innovation has announced its intention to push for direct EU support for Ukrainian research and innovation, as Ukraine continues to be devastated by more than two weeks of Russian military action.

The ministry announced on March 10 that it would “propose the creation of a line of projects, at the European level, for the revival of the Ukrainian system of science and innovation”. He did not specify what such projects would entail, or how he thinks they should be funded.

As Research Professional News previously reported, organizations such as Scholars at Risk, which supports scholars at risk, are push national governments and the EU to offer scholarship programs to help Ukrainian researchers displaced by the Russian invasion.

Russian bombs continue to rain down on civilian infrastructure and residential areas in Ukraine, killing hundreds of civilians so far. University buildings were among those damaged, while academics are among the millions of citizens whose lives have been turned upside down by the violence.

Information platform “under development”

The Spanish ministry said that the European Commission is already working on the creation of an information platform to help Ukrainian researchers find aid and support programs, which it says will be called “EER for Ukraine” after the European Research Area policy package aimed at boosting European research. . The ministry said it was happy to contribute to this “joint” effort.

Research Professional News has asked the Commission for comment. The Commission helped coordinate EU support for Ukraine and lit up its Brussels headquarters in the colors of the country’s flag as a sign of solidarity (pictured).

European academic organisations, including the European Council of Doctoral Students and Young Researchers, have asked the EU to provide centralized access to information on support measures offered to Ukrainian researchers. A website called Science For Ukraine provides such information, while Scholars at Risk said institutions across Europe offer support.

Like many European governments before it, the Spanish ministry said it was suspending all bilateral projects and contracts involving Russian research organizations in response to the invasion.

“Spain has always stood for scientific, technical and innovation cooperation based on universal principles and values,” said Science Minister Diana Morant. “The aggression ordered by the Russian government against Ukraine is unacceptable and violates these principles.”

More investment in R&I

Elsewhere, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said the EU had an “urgent need to boost our investment in defense and innovative technologies” following the invasion, which she said “has shattered the peace we have known for a long time in Europe”. [and] changed everything, probably forever.”

She said the EU needed to “restructure” its economy and invest in “research and raw materials” to help secure its place in this radically changed world.

Meanwhile, individual academic organizations continue to offer support to Ukraine while cutting ties with Russia.

The Association of European Universities in Coimbra announced on March 10 that it was suspending membership of St. Petersburg State University after its rector signed a joint statement supporting the invasion. “This decision in no way compromises the Coimbra Group’s inclusion and solidarity with all those who are individually affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as those who oppose war, regardless of their nationality,” the association said.

Scholarly publisher Wiley announced the same day that it was pledging US$1 million (€911,000) to humanitarian organizations providing aid to Ukraine, while “putting all of our scholarly content freely available to Ukrainian researchers and students and working internally and with partners to support Ukrainian scientists, scholars and authors during this difficult time.”