The British Academy and the Council for At-Risk Academics announce new Fellowships for Researchers at Risk

27 Mar 2022

The British Academy, the other UK National Academies and the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara), a registered charity, have today announced a new programme of Fellowships for Researchers at Risk.

This programme will support researchers at risk to continue their research in the UK for up to two years. The first priority for the scheme will be researchers based in Ukraine. The programme is receiving £3 million of government funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Nuffield Foundation, an independent charitable trust, is contributing £0.5 million towards the scheme.

The Fellowships will provide financial support to cover salary, research expenses and living costs as well as visas. Host institutions will be asked to identify at least six months’ accommodation for the researcher and their dependents.

The lead body for this programme will be the British Academy on behalf of the UK National Academies working in partnership with Cara.

The Fellowships programme is the latest collaboration between the British Academy and Cara, which share a proud history of supporting at-risk academics. In the 1930s, Fellows of the British Academy, including William Beveridge, helped to set up the Academic Assistance Council (AAC), a rescue mission for endangered researchers and intellectuals which later became Cara.

Thanks to Cara, the UK became a place of sanctuary for many German academics who were forced out of their positions by the Nazi regime and later for at-risk academics from Stalinist Russia, communist regimes in Eastern Europe, apartheid South Africa and many other troubled regions. Cara’s work continues today, worldwide; and the skills and expertise of those who have been rescued over the last 89 years have made, and continue to make, an extraordinary contribution to British scientific, cultural and intellectual life. The programme being launched today will build further on this important work.

More information on the Fellowships will be made available soon. For enquiries, contact researchersatrisk@thebritishacademy.ac.uk.

Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said:

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed Ukraine-based researchers and their dependents to immediate threat. There is an urgent need to provide support for these researchers away from the war to enable them and their dependents to get to safety and have the ability to continue their work. There is a wider issue of researchers at risk around the world and we hope over time to secure funding to broaden access to this scheme. The British Academy has a long involvement in work like this stretching back to the 1930s when our Fellows helped eminent scholars such as Claus Moser and Ernst Gombrich come to the UK, who went on to play an important role in the cultural and intellectual life of the country.”

Stephen Wordsworth CMG LVO, Executive Director of Cara, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the British Academy, and through them with the other National Academies and BEIS, on this important new initiative to rescue at-risk academics. Nearly 90 years ago, our founders defined our mission as "the relief of suffering and the defence of learning and science". Today, academics around the world are still caught up in conflicts, and being targeted by despots and extremists. Yet they carry in their heads the accumulated intellectual capital of their societies; so it is vital to save them now, so that one day they can return to help build better, safer societies. We hope that this new initiative, born of the urgent need to save those caught up in the horrors of war in Ukraine, will be a further contribution to this vital work, going on over time to help academics at risk around the world.”

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Chair of the Nuffield Foundation, said:

“The Nuffield Foundation whole-heartedly supports this endeavour to help academics and their families whose lives and livelihoods are at risk from the conflict in Ukraine.

“Support for research and researchers has been central to the Nuffield Foundation’s mission to advance social well-being since its inception amidst the brutality of the Second World War, as articulated by the commitment to ‘scientific research and the development of education’ in our founding trust deed.

“We hope that the Nuffield Foundation’s contribution to the Fellowship programme will help provide safety and solidarity for academics at risk to continue their valuable work from the UK.”

Find out more and apply in due course to the Researchers at Risk Fellowships Programme.

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on press@thebritishacademy.ac.uk  / 020 7969 5273 / 07500 010 432.

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