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Ministerial visit with discussions on Ukraine

Published: 25 March 2022

Earlier this week, we had a visit from Minister for Education Anna Ekström and her staff.

She was particularly interested in hearing about our contribution to the green transistion in Kiruna, Gällivare, Boden, Luleå and Skellefteå. She also wanted to see our campus in Luleå and some of our lab environments and was very impressed with both Depict and our robotics lab. Although she has only been responsible for higher education, research and space for a few months, she shows great knowledge and understanding of the academy and our activities.

We also discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the short- and long-term consequences this will have from an international and national perspective, but also for us as a university.

Interrupts collaborations

As I wrote in my latest blog post, the government is clear that all Swedish higher education institutions must suspend their collaborations with state universities and institutions in Russia and Belarus. This means all research projects, regardless of funding, but also activities such as co-publishing, guest lectures and joint supervision of doctoral students. In short, all activities that take place in the service.

As for our externally funded projects, most funders have taken responsibility and paused the projects themselves or shut down participants from Russia and Belarus. For the few projects where the financier has not clarified his position, we will urge the coordinating part to take on this task.

In order to be able to quickly handle issues that arise, we have appointed a coordination group led by me as Vice-Chancellor. As soon as new information comes or new guidelines and decisions are made, we will communicate this on our Ukraine page on the web. We therefore encourage all employees and students to visit this webpage regularly.

Wr are currently preparing to be able to welcome teachers and researchers from Ukraine in a good way through established networks and agreements such as Scholars at Risk (SAR) and through services as guest scholars and teachers. Although we all hope that the war will end immediately, we must have a long-term perspective, the risk is unfortunately great that this will be a protracted conflict.

In order to be able to welcome students from Ukraine and offer them the opportunity to take part in our campus courses, we must resolve the insurance issue. Only persons who are employed or registered as students are covered by our state insurance. We raised this important issue with Anna Ekström and she promised to investigate as soon as possible whether The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency can extend its insurance to us or give us permission to take private insurance so that we can welcome persons from Ukraine and offer them the opportunity to participate in our educational activities.

Allocated funds

To contribute to the survival of the Ukrainian Academy and make it possible for teachers/researchers to keep in touch with colleagues and their subjects, we have set aside SEK 5 million at university level for scholars who come to us. We expect the departments to allocate funds so that we share these costs together.

Several research funders have also announced funding so that Ukrainian researchers can apply for funding and receive support if they apply for employment in Sweden. It should be clear that the daily allowance offered to all asylum seekers, including those from Ukraine, is very low, approximately SEK 1,900/month. However, they get permission to work, which we hope many will have the opportunity to do.

As I have communicated earlier in various contexts, we have several employees from Russia at our university. They are important employees and managers and we expect that all people working at the university are shown respect and have good working conditions.
We provide support to all employees and students who are affected by the war in Ukraine. I urge everyone to show extra consideration for other staff and students.

Finally, I remind you again to visit our information page, where new information is continuously posted.
The Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, SUHF, also has a good compilation of frequently asked questions and answers.

Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, Vice-Chancellor of Luleå University of Technology

Toppbild rektors blogg

University information on the invasion of Ukraine