Call for Participation: Universities for Ukraine (U4U) Non-Residential Fellowship Program

The Russian invasion has thrust Ukraine’s higher-education system into crisis. Ukrainian universities, heavily dependent on tuition revenue, are in financial crisis as domestic and international students have left the country or entered military service and the government has had to cut funding due to the war effort. Moreover, many Ukrainian faculty and scholars are in personal crisis and questioning whether they can afford to remain in academia. Fortunately, there is something we can do to help.

There is something we can do to help.

Economists for Ukraine and Science for Ukraine call on colleges, universities, and other research organizations around the world to support Ukrainian scholars by participating in the Universities for Ukraine (U4U) Non-Residential Fellowship Program.

Summary of the U4U Non-Residential Fellowship Program

● U4U Fellows receive one-time unconditional funding of $5,000 and are matched with a Sponsor, which could be a university, a school or department within a university, a research group within a corporation or non-profit, etc.

● Sponsors pledge $5,000 per U4U Fellow that they want to support.

● Economists for Ukraine and Science for Ukraine manage the application process and match Sponsors with pre-screened Fellows based on Sponsor-specific criteria.

● U4U Fellows join the global U4U Fellowship Community, which will provide them with networking and research-engagement opportunities

● Sponsors may choose to provide additional support, such as creating an opportunity for the Fellow to meet faculty virtually or give a virtual talk but are not required to do so.

● Contact info@econ4ua.org to get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who qualifies for the U4U Fellowship?

The U4U Fellowship is designed to support Ukrainian scholars who have chosen or were required to remain in Ukraine. To qualify for the fellowship, applicants must demonstrate (i) a record of scholarship conducted from Ukraine (e.g. publications or preprints prior to the Russian invasion while affiliated with a Ukrainian college, university, or research institution), (ii) a desire to remain in Ukraine, as attested by the applicant, and (iii) a plan of research describing how the fellowship would enable them to carry out additional research activities. Scholars who have fled to another country but desire to return to Ukraine are welcome to apply.

2. How does it work to be a Sponsor?

First, you decide that you want to support Ukrainian scholars through the U4U Non-Residential Fellowship Program! After connecting with the Program via email at info@econ4ua.org with any further questions, you then pledge $5,000 for each Fellow you are willing to support. When making this pledge, you may also specify any requirements or preferences you have about the scholars you would like to support.

Second, you match with the Fellow(s) you will be supporting. We will notify you once a prospective match is found who meets your preferences. You have the option to review and reject prospective matches. After you accept a match, you make a one-time financial transfer directly to that Fellow. The Program will not receive or handle any funds itself.

Finally, you enjoy being the Sponsor of a U4U Non-Residential Fellow! Every Fellow automatically joins the global U4U Fellowship Community and will have networking and research-engagement opportunities through the Community (e.g., virtual meetups for networking and field-specific virtual seminar series for research visibility). But of course, you may also choose to create additional opportunities and build relationships with your Fellows. There are several models that Sponsors can choose to follow, and we will provide a menu of suggested options (e.g., giving Fellows access to virtual University resources, including research subscriptions), but how you interact with your Fellows is ultimately up to you.

3. Who manages the Program?

The U4U Non-Residential Fellowship Program is managed by scholars who volunteer through Economists for Ukraine and Science for Ukraine. In addition to maintaining the Application Portal and communicating with Sponsors, we will conduct screening interviews with potential applicants, both to verify their stated level of English proficiency and to encourage them to become active in the U4U community even before they are matched.

4. How do I know that all of the money I contribute will go directly to the Fellows I
support?

Once you have accepted a prospective match, we will connect you directly with your Fellow and you will arrange with them to make a one-time financial payment of $5,000 directly to them.

5. I love the idea but would like to be matched with a Fellow who can interact meaningfully with researchers at my institution. How can I be sure that the Fellows I support will be a good match?

When pledging funds to the program, you will have the opportunity to specify any required or preferred criteria for the research fellow.

First, you may specify required criteria. The Program will never match you with someone who does not meet all your required criteria. This may result in you never being matched.

Second, you may specify preferred criteria. The Program will attempt to match you with Fellows who meet your preferences. If a “perfect match” is not available, we will make an effort to match you with someone who satisfies as many of your preferences as possible. This may result in some delay before you are matched, as we want you to be satisfied and may “wait and see” if better matches for you arrive later. 

Finally, you will have the opportunity to review and approve prospective matches before they are finalized.

Criteria:

A. FIELD OF STUDY
Applicants specify their field(s) and subfield(s) of study. As a Sponsor, you may require or express a preference for certain fields of study. For instance, a finance group within a business school might require “Finance” while a corporate lab studying Artificial Intelligence might require “Computer Science” and either “Mathematics” or “Applied Mathematics”.

B. ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Applicants have an opportunity to document their tangible research accomplishments, including publications, preprints, and conference presentations. As a Sponsor, you may choose to require or express a preference for certain accomplishments. For instance, a biology department that wants to provide its Fellows with professional mentorship might express a preference for scholars who have papers published in Biology journals and/or posted on a biology preprint server, to ensure that they are matched with Fellows in their field.

C. OTHER

In addition to Field of Study and Accomplishments, Sponsors may specify any other requirements or preferences. Before sending you a prospective match, we will do our best to make sure that the candidates we send you satisfy these other criteria as well. If we do not succeed and a prospective match does not meet your criteria, you are welcome to reject the match and we will work to find another. (Candidates are only informed when a match has been accepted. No one will have their feelings hurt about being rejected.)

6. Can I impose additional requirements on fellows, such as a final report on research they have conducted during their fellowship?

The non-residential fellowship program was set up to help academics in Ukraine continue their research activities. To ensure that each fellow has an equal opportunity to do so, Sponsors may not impose any substantial requirements on what selected fellows do during their fellowship time. Examples of acceptable additional requirements include a short presentation or a short summary of research activities, which must be made clear to potential fellows prior to them accepting the fellowship. Sponsors are welcome to provide additional opportunities (e.g., the ability to present in a virtual seminar), as long as it is clear that the fellow is under no obligation to participate in them.

7. My institution doesn’t have experience transferring money to Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine. Can you help me?

In most cases, Sponsors can simply transfer the funds to the researcher’s bank account and do not need to do any withholdings or reporting to the Ukrainian government. For more information, please consult this legal opinion authored by Robinson Patman, a Ukrainian law firm with extensive experience in tax law. However, an alternative option is for the Sponsor to transfer the funds to our partner organization, AI4Good (a 501c3 organization involved in a variety of humanitarian initiatives in Ukraine), which will then transfer the funds to the fellow(s).

8. What if I want to do something a bit differently than what’s described here?

We have designed this process to make it as easy as possible for the typical sponsor to support a fellow. But our ultimate goal is to support as many war-affected Ukrainian academics as possible. Thus, although some things are non-negotiable, we are happy to work with you on other dimensions. Just reach out to info@econ4ua.org to get the ball rolling!

8. Can individuals, corporations, and charitable foundations also serve as Sponsors? I would love to donate to this worthy cause, and I can probably convince my employer and/or their charitable foundation to match my donation.

Thank you so much for your willingness to help! Only research institutions can serve as formal Sponsors, but you and your employer can certainly provide financial support. In particular, we welcome financial support that can be used to reduce the financial burden on resource-limited universities to participate. For example, with your help, universities in Ukraine could sponsor U4U Fellows at zero cost to connect with displaced Ukrainian scholars who desire to return and, after the war, hire these scholars and support their reintegration into the academy.