Solidarity with Ukraine

Five days ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. ETH Zurich condemns this act of aggression and is taking some first measures to support students and researchers from Ukraine.

ETH Zurich in the colours of the Ukrainian national flag
Image: ETH Zürich

The world is watching events in Ukraine in disbelief. Most of us feel powerless in the face of these acts of war and their consequences for the population. “ETH strongly condemns Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and the associated tremendous violation of international law,” stresses ETH President Joël Mesot. At the same time, he reaffirms the university’s unreserved solidarity with universities in Ukraine.

In this difficult situation, many ETH members are wondering what they can do to help alleviate the suffering of those affected. They are also wondering what ETH Zurich can do as an institution.

Support for ETH members

The Executive Board’s main concern is ETH members. Ukrainian students and staff have received an email in which ETH President Joël Mesot and the responsible Executive Board members express their sympathy and offer support, such as psychological counselling services.

If they find themselves in financial difficulties, Ukrainian Bachelor’s and Master’s students can turn to Student Services and be granted loans without any red tape. It goes without saying that Ukrainian doctoral students will have their contracts extended. Further measures are being drawn up, such as the extension of deadlines for doctoral and post-doctoral students from Ukraine.

Supporting Ukrainian academics

“Together with the institutions of the ETH Domain and with swissuniversities, ETH will additionally make every effort to support and take in students and researchers from Ukraine,” says ETH President Joël Mesot. The amount of support in question is currently being explored in depth.

One thing is for sure: certain courses will be open to people from Ukraine, for example, basic mathematics or computer science, and they will be welcomed with open arms by the ETH community. ETH Zurich will also get involved in support services offered by the Swiss National Science Foundation, such as the Scholars at Risk network, which allows researchers who are under threat to apply for temporary residence for themselves and their families in a safe location.

The spontaneous offers being made by research groups from universities around the world could also be pointing the way forward: over 400 groups had entered themselves on the external pageLabs supporting Ukrainian Scientists Google Docs list at the time this article went to press. Among them are six groups from ETH Zurich that are offering to provide a temporary home for Ukrainian academics.

Providing orientation

Orientation is another essential service offered by universities, especially in exceptional situations. Since the beginning of the escalation in hostilities, researchers at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich have been analysing the course of events that led to Russian troops invading Ukraine. They are issuing expert statements to the media and keeping the public up to date on events with posts about the current situation on their Focus Ukraine website and their external pageTwitter account.

Expressing concern

The personal contributions being made by ETH members range from participation in solidarity demonstrations and giving donations to humanitarian organisations to their own initiatives. For example, Ukrainian ETH members are helping to collect medical supplies and equipment and other materials and sending this urgently needed aid to their country via the embassy and the Permanent Representative to the UN.

Anyone who wants to support Ukraine can find contact points on AVETH’s #StandWithUkraine website. The Ukrainian embassy is also offering helpful guidance.

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