The initiative has two main aims:
1) To contribute to at-risk scholar re-integration into a scholarly work environment and support the development of research skills and connections relevant to their host countries by:
- Connecting at-risk scholars to mentors from the GYA or National Young Academies (NYAs) who help them build connections in their new environment;
- Supporting the development of specific professional skills, such as knowledge about research funding structures, CV preparation and grant writing, through workshops (online and in-person);
- Fostering, through mentoring and discussions, the development of skills that all young researchers need to navigate the academic world (e.g. defining one’s own role, networking, finding a good work-life balance, learning how to understand and navigate cultural differences, etc.).
2) To support exceptional early- or mid-career at-risk scholars in developing competitive membership applications to the GYA and/or National Young Academies (NYAs). Professional networks like young academies provide critical opportunities for scholars to collaborate and engage with peers around the world.
We work with partner organisations to advance its aims and to identify promising post-Ph.D. scholars in any research-based discipline, including the sciences, medicine, engineering, social sciences, and the arts and humanities, who are approximately 30-43 years old and are currently residing in a foreign country because of safety issues in their home country, or asylum/refugee status.
Please note that all mentees in our programme are referred by partner organisations. Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to serve scholars who are not referred by a partner organisation. If you would like to discuss partnership opportunities, please contact us.
IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)
Scholars at Risk (SAR)
Wolfson College, University of Oxford
Council for At-Risk Academics (cara)
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative
The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
The E.U. Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Young Academy of Scotland, At-Risk Academics & Refugee Membership Programme
Science in Exile (ISC, IAP and TWAS project)
Mentoring and Membership Programmes
- Since 2018, 35 mutually beneficial mentoring relationships between members of the GYA initiative and at-risk scholars have been established, leading to increased professional network connections and opportunities for at-risk scholars. Currently, 17 active mentoring relationships are ongoing and 18 have graduated from the program (as of September 2021).
- Through our endorsement programme, 5 at-risk scholars have been successfully selected as new GYA members over three selection rounds from 2019 – 2021. Started as a pilot, the endorsement programme has now been made a permanent membership pathway to facilitate at-risk scholar membership in the GYA
Professional Development Workshops
- Second professional development workshop at Wolfson College, University of Oxford (September 2021).
- Career options beyond academia, with SAR and IIE-SRF (June 2021).
- Skills training workshop in collaboration with the EU Joint Research Centre (April 2019).
- Professional development workshop at Wolfson College, University of Oxford (September 2019).
Looking forward, the At-Risk Scholars Initiative aims to expand the reach of career development workshops – in-person and online – in cooperation with partner organisations, including those that work with at-risk scholars in low- and middle-income countries.
How can you help? Resources for the Academic Community
- Encourage your research institution to host an at-risk scholar through one of the fellowship or scholarship programmes listed above. Find information on hosting in this handbook: How_to_Host.pdf (scholarsatrisk.org)
- Raise awareness among your networks and encourage them to help;
- Join the IIE-SRF Alliance, a global network of partners who offer practical support to threatened and displaced scholars;
- Encourage your institution to sign the “Urgent appeal to European Governments and EU Institutions: Take Action for Afghanistan’s scholars, researchers, and civil society actors” issued by the Scholars at Risk network.
- (Young) scientists can provide valuable mentoring and advice to individuals. We encourage all science organisations and academies to consider even small ways to positively impact the lives and careers of scholars at risk.
Afghanistan response: information for scholars and host institutions
- Afghanistan Response Information (iie.org)
- Urgent Calls for Help from Afghanistan | Scholars at Risk
- How to support Afghan scientists and scholars (interacademies.org)
- GYA Declaration of Support for Afghan Scholars
Scholarship and fellowship programmes
- Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative
- IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)
- Council for At-Risk Academics (cara)
- Scholars at Risk (SAR)
- PAUSE (French hosting programme)
- Harvard Scholars at Risk
- AuthorAID offers free resources, mentoring and online courses on writing in science, the social sciences, and grant writing.
- Science for Refugees: European Commission online resource for job search in EU countries.
- EU Joint Research Centre: jobs in research, trainee positions, doctoral partnerships etc are often open to non EU citizens, and advertised regularly here: Science-hub.
- Refugees Welcome Map: an inventory of higher education supporting refugees.
- The Tent Partnership for Refugees works closely with businesses to help them identify and understand opportunities to help refugees.
- University Alliance on Refugees and At-Risk Migrants: A Rutgers-based initiative to bring together the university community to empower and protect at-risk and refugee students.
- The New School University in Exile Consortium: a university consortium committed to supporting at-risk scholars. (also see the consortium’s SourceBook – a searchable database of resources for endangered scholars: SourceBook | The New University in Exile ConsortiumThe New University in Exile Consortium)
- Students at Risk – Hilde Domin Programme – DAAD – for students & doctoral students.
- Article 26 Backpack – an online tool for academic mobility. Scholars affected by war, conflict or economic conditions may upload documents here.
- Extensive resources list (PDF here) by TWAS-ISC-IAP “Science in Exile” project.
Media and Publications
GYA Declaration of Support for Afghan Scholars (August 2021)
“Academic precarity is bad for everyone, but it’s even worse for scholars at risk” – Times Higher Education, November 2019
“Helping Refugees Continue their Scientific Work in Europe” -EU Joint Research Centre, April 2019
“Supporting displaced scholars through the At-Risk & Refugee Scholar Membership Initiative” – GYA Connections, May 2018
“Halifax would be a good home for refugee scholars, researcher says” – The Signal, 14 February 2018
Interview with Dr S. Karly Kehoe on CTV Atlantic, on outreach to refugee and at-risk scholars, CTV Atlantic, February 2018
“Science in Exile” – Film produced by The World Academy of Sciences, 12 February 2018
“Supporting scholars seeking a new intellectual home – what can we do?” – The Research Whisperer, 5 December 2017