NEWS2 December 2022

Research England funds UK and Ukraine university twinning scheme

Europe News Public Sector UK

UK – Research England has invested £5m into a twinning scheme between universities in the UK and Ukraine to help institutions and researchers in the country affected by the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian flag at peace protest

The funding will support a scheme led by Universities UK International (UUKi) and Cormack Consulting Group to share resources and assistance to help Ukrainian institutions, staff and students.

The £5m investment by Research England would cover grants to twinning partnerships to address research and innovation challenges, help strategic cross-sector activities to build capacity and resilience, and aid coordination, evaluation and management.

It will also mean UK universities can scale up and sustain their commitment to working with their Ukrainian partners, and provide new cross-sector resources that will make responding to future crises easier for the UK sector.

On the ground, work will include partnership development workshops, seed funding for future bilateral research collaborations, researcher support and summer schools, access to training and development for research management staff, and support for research infrastructure and kit.

Other areas include data processing and access to research services and e-resources, access to UK postgraduate researcher and early career researcher training and skills programmes, and researcher and postgraduate researcher visits and capacity building.

The UK-Ukraine Twinning Initiative has also seen 100 partnerships formed between UK and Ukrainian universities, including between Cardiff University and National University Zaporizhzhia Polytechnic, Queen’s University Belfast and Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, St Andrews University and National University of Ostroh Academy, and University of Cambridge and Kharkiv National Medical University.

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, executive chair at Research England, said: “The partnerships being created through the scheme are hugely important to support and build both longer-term research and innovation collaboration and capacity between our two countries.

“The injection of funding will be vital in enabling UK universities to increase and strengthen their commitment to supporting their Ukrainian partners allowing them to address research and innovation challenges; while also providing new resources, which will enable the UK higher education sector to respond to future crises.”

Jamie Arrowsmith, director at UUKi, said: “It’s amazing to see our universities collaborate through this scheme.

“We hope that this investment will further strengthen the relationship between our two countries and signals the UK’s continued support for Ukraine throughout and beyond the current conflict.”

Science Minister George Freeman said: “Science and technology are increasingly key to geopolitical soft power: as levers to hit the Russian state as part of our sanctions in the spring, and to support science through our Ukrainian research project and harness innovation in rebuilding Ukraine’s economy.

“I’m delighted that through our new twinning programme, Ukrainian universities are able to collaborate with UK universities to develop strong partnerships that will benefit both nations, while addressing global research and innovation challenges.”