The SNSF and its Ukrainian partner NRFU will launch a joint call in 2023

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Researchers from Ukraine and Switzerland will be able to submit joint research projects next year. The SNSF and Ukraine's research funder NRFU are strengthening bilateral cooperation.

Early this summer, the SNSF and the National Research Foundation of Ukraine (NRFU) signed a memorandum of understanding to advance their collaboration. The two research funders will now launch a call for proposals for joint research projects under the Swiss federal government's bilateral programmes in 2023. Researchers from Switzerland and Ukraine can apply together for these projects. They are completely free to choose their own topics. "The joint call of the SNSF and the NRFU is of tremendous value for the NRFU as a young funding organisation." says NRFU director Olga Polotska. "The call opens up chances for high-level international collaboration for Ukrainian researchers."

Countering the brain drain

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war are severely affecting everyday work and life on the ground. This also impacts science and researchers. So far, for example, two universities and five research centres have been destroyed. "The SNSF is committed to a free, diverse and internationally open science system," says Matthias Egger, President of the SNSF National Research Council. Links with the Ukrainian research scene must be maintained even in these difficult times.

"Once Ukraine is able to begin reconstruction, it will need a viable international scientific network," Egger continues. And: "The joint agreement counters the brain drain from the country and the general reduction of capacity on the ground." Polotska also feels that "The joint call for proposals is a clear sign of the support that the SNSF provides to Ukrainian researchers in the terrible circumstances they face."

How to participate

The joint SNSF-NRFU projects can last three years and are funded by the SNSF alone. The first call for proposals for the new bilateral programme is expected to be launched in January or February 2023. Researchers in Switzerland and Ukraine who wish to participate are advised to start talking to each other already now.

Outstanding Ukrainian women researchers

The NRFU is also becoming a partner organisation of the AcademiaNet database, which has been supported by the SNSF since 2020. The database contains more than 3500 profiles of outstanding female scientists from all research areas across Europe. The women admitted to the programme must have been nominated by European scientific organisations according to specific criteria.

With the signing of the agreement with AcademiaNet, the NRFU can now propose top female researchers from Ukraine for the database. These may include women who are not currently in the country but remain connected to Ukrainian institutions. The NRFU will likely nominate its first women scientists in spring 2023.