Nine refugee academics put their talent to work for Dutch science

6 January 2020

Nine academics, who fled threatening situations in their homeland, are set to continue their scientific careers in the Netherlands. Their appointments will be funded by the second round of a pilot programme launched in 2018 called ‘Hestia – Impulse for Refugees in Science’.

Project leaders and main applicants of a research project already funded by NWO or ZonMw can use this programme to apply for funding to enable a refugee to join their project. The refugees must have an academic background (a master or PhD degree) and be appointed for a maximum of 18 months on a full-time or no more than 24 months on a part-time basis. The pilot programme was developed in consultation with The Young Academy, the Royal Netherland Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF).

Researchers who had to flee their homeland due to war or another threatening situation often face obstacles such as a different working language and culture in the countries where they settle. This makes it more difficult for them to continue their academic careers. NWO introduced the ‘Hestia – Impulse for Refugees in Science’ pilot call to give these academics the chance to join ongoing Dutch research projects so they can expand their network and increase their knowledge and skills. It is also an opportunity for them to actively share knowledge and expertise, to get to know the Dutch science system, with the ultimate aim of enabling them to continue their careers/lines of research in their homeland. These academics will also enrich Dutch science and society with their expertise.

Wide range of studies

The research projects for which the nine academics have been appointed concern a wide range of studies, such as anxiety disorders in children, research on how parents influence the health of their children through genes and environment, the contribution of neighbourhood and municipal initiatives to the integration and labour participation of refugees, a machine learning method for the design of effective measures against malware families of IoT botnets and (medical) care for refugee children.

Facts and figures

The funding is available for an appointment of at least 18 months full-time and no more than 24 months part-time. The application enables the project leader or main applicant to secure additional funding for the appointment of a junior or senior researcher (at the master or PhD level) with refugee status. A total of 21 admissible research proposals were submitted. Nine of these have now been awarded funding. Seven of the nine refugees appointed are men and two are women. Five of the project leaders/main applicants are women and four men. A total budget of just over 1 million euros was available for the pilot. A third and final round of the ‘Hestia – Impulse for Refugees in Science’ pilot programme will be launched in the spring of 2020.

Awarded grants

Source: NWO


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