Two Ukrainian scientists at DESY awarded MSCA grants

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Two Ukrainian physicists who last year began work at DESY have been awarded special fellowships to continue their work while the Russian invasion of their home country continues. The MSCA4Ukraine programme, administered and funded by the European Union as part of the official response to the invasion, selected Alexander Shchagin from the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology and Oksana Chukova from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv to receive Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships that will fund positions at DESY. The fellowships, which are intended for displaced researchers, will also help the scientists keep their connections at their home institutes and with innovation networks within Ukraine.

The European Union established the MSCA4Ukraine programme shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began one year ago. With a budget of 25 million euro under the auspices of the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the programme funds at-risk researchers from all areas of study. The applications for the special fellowships needed to be made by the scientists’ host institutes. Within two weeks of the programme applications opening in November 2022, there were already more than 500 applications for this programme submitted. The programme was able to seat researchers in 21 different countries across Europe.

Both scientists arrived at DESY last year, and the new fellowship allows them to remain for an additional two years. Alexander Shchagin is working on accelerator diagnostic and instrumentation. He investigates a novel method to measure differential energy losses and extract information about relativistic particle dynamics in crystals. His work will help establish future operations at DESY’s test beam using a crystal-based extraction scheme. Oksana Chukova works with luminescent materials developed for application in light emitting devices, luminescent probes and sensors and particularly luminescent covering layers of solar cells. Her research concentrates on the effects on structure, morphology and optical properties induced by heterovalent substitutions in oxide nanoparticles and composites to improve the luminescent efficiency of these materials.

“We are proud to be able to host Alexander Shchagin and Oksana Chukova at DESY,” says DESY Director Helmut Dosch. “They and many other researchers have had unthinkable pressures placed on them in the face of the horrid invasion of their country. We are thankful for the opportunity provided by the European Union to help these scientists continue their work in safety.”

The selection process for MSCA4Ukraine candidates was implemented by a consortium comprised of Scholars at Risk Europe, hosted at Maynooth University in Ireland, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, and the European University Association, with the Collège de France and the global Scholars at Risk Network participating as associated partners.

This article was first published on 24 February by DESY. 

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