KU Leuven sets up emergency fund and is ready to receive first Ukrainian researchers and students

10 Mar 2022 | Network Updates | Update from KU Leuven
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

The war in Ukraine has left no one untouched and causes great concern and a warm wave of solidarity at KU Leuven too. The University has created an emergency fund that will be used for the employment, housing or mobility of Ukrainian students and researchers temporarily seeking a safe haven at the University. Meanwhile, the first contacts have been made.

The first solidarity actions have been launched at KU Leuven. For example, the University has created an emergency fund for the accommodation of Ukrainian students and researchers looking for shelter, or for necessary extensions of stay for those already working or studying at KU Leuven. The university administration has provided a starting capital, but invites everyone inside and outside the University to contribute. You can do so via the KU Leuven website.

“Belgium is showing great solidarity in this crisis. KU Leuven wants to complement other initiatives and therefore focuses on accommodating scholars and students. We want to help preserve the academic knowledge and expertise that exists in Ukraine and that will be crucial for the reconstruction. We do this by giving academics and students the opportunity to continue working or studying here”, explains Rector Luc Sels. “This fund is one of the steps we take and provides a solid and necessary financial basis. The world showed solidarity with us when our University was in ruins. I now call on everyone to show that same solidarity now that Ukrainian universities, academics and students are in need. We have already provided a starting capital, enabling us to take concrete steps at this very moment.”

You can support this fund by donating on the account number BE45 7340 1941 7789, BIC code KREDBEBB, of KU Leuven with the structured communication +++400/0022/12952+++

In addition to positions financed by the fund, the University examines the options for direct employment on funds from its research groups or departments. First of all, there are various vacancies, but research groups also offer (temporary) employment to researchers fleeing war. Some Ukrainian researchers are already trying to reach Leuven. We will receive them and give them the opportunity to continue their work here. The University is approaching partner universities from its European networks to create a joint platform for the accommodation of Ukrainian university students.

Help from University Hospitals Leuven

University Hospitals Leuven will also participate in the actions that Minister Frank Vandenbroucke is planning with the hospitals. For this purpose, a crisis unit was set up to coordinate the actions taken by University Hospitals Leuven and, more specifically, their contribution to the reception of war victims.

Russian students are not expelled

In some media, reports are circulating that European universities are sending away Russian students. KU Leuven emphasises that it does not expel students, quite the contrary. Existing (institutional or project-based) partnerships will continue, unless the university concerned explicitly supports the Kremlin’s policy. For the time being, the University will not enter into new collaborations with Russian or Belarusian partners, neither institutionally nor on a project basis. Staff and students currently cannot travel to Russia and Belarus. Researchers and students from these countries remain welcome. The University always determines its course of action in consultation and coordination with government policy.

Read also: “In times of war, we all lose”: KU Leuven condemns invasion of Ukraine.

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