Twelve refugee academics can set to work in Dutch science

14 January 2019

Twelve academics, who have left their fatherland due to a threatening situation, have received a one-year appointment to continue their scientific career in the Netherlands. The academics come from various countries such as Syria, Russia, Armenia, Pakistan or Turkey. As part of the pilot "Refugees in science", NWO has awarded funding to twelve proposals. This additional funding can be used by the project leaders concerned to appoint a researcher with refugee status to a current project for a period of one year. The pilot has been developed in consultation with The Young Academy, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Foundation for Refugee Students UAF.

Researchers who had to flee their own country due to war or another threatening situation often come up against obstacles such as language or working culture in the countries where they find a safe home. This makes it more difficult for them to continue their academic career. With the pilot call "Refugees in Science" NWO aims to give these academics a chance to join current Dutch research projects, to build up a network and to increase their knowledge and skills. It also gives them the opportunity to actively share knowledge and expertise, and to get to know the Dutch science system. The ultimate aim is that the researchers can continue their intended career/line of research that they started in their home country. These academics will also enrich Dutch science and society with the expertise they bring with them.

Wide range of studies

Research projects for which the twelve academics have been appointed concern a wide range of studies, such as the consequences of climate change off the Surinamese coast, the use of advanced MRI techniques to reduce the chance of a brain infarct during a surgical intervention for atherosclerosis, the involvement of Syrian students as paramilitaries in the conflict in Syria, and into the cause of the European drought in 2018 and the role of land surface and the vegetation therein.

Facts and figures

Project leaders who submitted a proposal can request extra funding for the one-year appointment of a junior or senior researcher with a refugee status (received an asylum residence permit for a fixed period (type III) on or after 1 January 2013). A total of 41 admissible research proposals were submitted, and 12 of these have now been awarded funding. That is an award rate of about 29%. Ten of the refugees appointed are men, and two are women. Seven of the project leaders awarded funding are women and five men. A total budget of 750,000 euros was available for the pilot. The application had to be submitted by a project leader from a current research project that already received funding by NWO or ZonMw.

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Source: NWO


Olivier Morot (spokesperson) Olivier Morot (spokesperson) t: +31 (0)6 53175377