On February 24, 2022 we woke up to a world we no longer knew. In the early hours of the morning, Russia attacked Ukraine and a full-scale unjust war in Europe was suddenly once more a reality. It is important to recognize that this war is not a war solely on Ukraine, it is also an attack on democracy and on the idea of a free and peaceful world, one that we here are fortunate enough to call our reality, and need to cherish and protect accordingly.
In the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), we stand in solidarity with Ukraine and our Ukrainian colleagues in the Young Scientists Council at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (RMU). Those of us, fortunately, who live in peace elsewhere in Europe are regularly amazed by our Ukrainian friends and today, we feature three of them in our online campaign “Women in Research”. We emphasise what was also stated in the Eurodoc 2022 call as well as in the recent appeal to the EC. The research and higher education sector in Europe must with renewed urgency continue to do its utmost to support Ukrainian universities, researchers, and students such that they can safely continue their research and studies in Ukraine or elsewhere. Furthermore, this must be done sustainably, ensuring that there will not be long term knowledge drain from Ukraine, and aim at facilitating a knowledge-driven and sustainable rebuilding and recovery of Ukraine. Individual and institutional support should be balanced.
Attacks on democracies come in many shapes and forms, and we all have a shared responsibility to defend its core values, such as human rights and freedom of speech. The past year has repeatedly proven that democracy and academic freedom are deeply interconnected. When the Russian regime, repeatedly and shamelessly, presents an incorrect revision of the historical and cultural reality of Ukraine, we should all be reminded of how dangerous the manipulation of facts and truths are. We have to strive to build a future resilient against disinformation and post-truth.
Here, academia’s role for a democracy becomes most visible: it becomes clear that we as researchers must fight mistrust in science, defunding of research and higher education, and all infringements against academic freedom.
For all of our futures’ sake, this generation of Ukrainian early-career researchers must not be forgotten. It is important to remember the lost life's of Ukrainian researchers and students, and we would like to extend our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones.
While peace in Europe may seem distant at this moment, it is important to remember that we are all responsible to stand up for democracy and defend it. We, therefore, urge all our partners to continue to stand with us and the people and researchers in Ukraine.
Signed and written in the personal capacity of:
- Pil Maria Saugmann, Eurodoc Secretariat Coordinator - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3548-0134
- Sebastian Dahle, Eurodoc Vice President - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7568-0483
- Hannah Schoch, Eurodoc Secretary - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3987-4106
- Oleksandr Berezko, Eurodoc President - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0664-4339
- Agnieszka Żyra, Advisory Board Member, Eurodoc President (2021-2022) - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6895-209X
- Joanna Rutkowska, Eurodoc General Board Member - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3868-4789
- Mathias Schroijen, Advisory Board Member - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6474-9158
- Iryna Degtyarova, Advisory Board Member - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4298-5488
- Danila Rijavec, Eurodoc Treasurer - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7504-4882
- Anna Pavelieva, Eurodoc External Communication Coordinator - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2306-1928
- Eva Hnátková, Advisory Board Member, Eurodoc President (2019-2020) - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3237-9305
- Mariana Hanková, Eurodoc Secretary (2021-2022) - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8259-8779
- Sara Pilia, Eurodoc Vice President (2021-2022) - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8221-3082
- Nicola Dengo, Eurodoc General Board Member - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2534-7265