The initiative has two main aims:
1) to contribute to at-risk scholar re-integration into a scholarly work environment by supporting the development of research skills and connections relevant to their host countries (e.g., research funding structures, CV preparation advice, grant writing, regional professional opportunities). The professional skills will be both tangible (support for understanding new research funding structures, guidance on grant, manuscript, and job applications, and building interview skills) and intangible (understanding cultural differences and learning how to navigate them, building better work-life balances, helping to provide opportunities for networking and professional introductions that may lead to opportunities for research integration).;
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).
The GYA works with the below collaborating organizations to identify promising 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.
The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the E.U. Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative, the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, the Council for At-Risk Academics (cara), and Scholars at Risk.
As of December 2018, 24 mentor-mentee pairs have been matched. The group is currently organising two training workshops for 2019: the first in collaboration with the EU Joint Research Centre, and the second at Wolfson College, Oxford, UK.
Looking forward, the At-Risk Scholars Initiative aims to expand partnerships with organisations that work with at-risk scholars in the Global South.
In the Media
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” – 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
Expected outcomes (2018-2019)
● The seeding of at least 20 mutually beneficial mentoring relationships between GYA members and at-risk scholars, leading to increased professional network connections and opportunities for at-risk scholars
● The successful selection of 1-2 at-risk scholars into GYA membership during the September 2018 call for new members (Please note that we cannot guarantee selection – this is clearly communicated to all participants.)
At-risk scholars selected to take part in the initiative will receive:
● A GYA peer “mentor” matched considering geographic location, disciplinary expertise, and scholar preferences
● GYA mentors commit to a minimum of one year of support to include but not limited to:
- one 1-hour Skype call per month and more frequent correspondence by email with the scholar;
- access to their networks for career/education/professional development as appropriate
● Funding for selected at-risk scholars to attend the GYA Annual General Meeting in 2019, as well as other meetings, is anticipated.