UK universities are being matched with Ukrainian institutions as part of a twinning initiative to offer support to academics, students and university leaders during the conflict.
Universities UK aims to secure long-term collaboration across areas including curriculum content, online resources, research collaboration and the movement of students and staff.
The project is at an early stage and around 30 universities from across the UK have expressed their interest in the twinning initiative so far.
As well as long-term collaboration, some universities have already started discussing short-term support initiatives, including enabling Ukrainian academics to be based at UK universities to allow them to continue to teach Ukrainian students through online courses; access to IT infrastructure and accommodation.
Other benefits could include ensuing Ukrainian academics have access to libraries and other online academic resources and giving Ukrainian students who can speak English the opportunity to take online UK university modules with credits which their Ukrainian universities will recognise.
Plans are also being developed to help protect Ukrainian resources including rare book collections, hosting summer schools at UK campuses to help students catch up with learning and linking UK and Ukrainian student unions to raise funds for new equipment that is needed to support learning.
Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and Chair of UUK’s International Policy Network, said: “UK universities have unequivocally condemned the war on Ukraine and we are committed to supporting Ukrainian staff and students currently in the UK as well as those who arrive here fleeing the conflict.
“Our universities have a wealth of resources, knowledge and expertise, and we want to find practical ways to support Ukrainian universities now and in the future. That starts with understanding their current needs, and this twinning initiative is an excellent way for UK universities to support Ukrainian universities directly, in partnership alongside our higher education counterparts around the world.”
Charles Cormack, Founder and Chairman of Cormack Consultancy Group, which is helping to co-ordinate the project said: “This project is designed to support Ukrainian universities to continue to function during this difficult time. By supporting them in their mission we are also minimising the risk of brain drain, with academics and students disappearing into the HE systems of other countries.
It also allows UK universities to focus their support on a particular partner, which allows them to see they are making a real difference to the lives of academics and students and helping to sustain their partner.”