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.

Collaborating organizations

The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
The E.U. Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative
IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)
Council for At-Risk Academics (cara)
Scholars at Risk (SAR)
Wolfson College, Oxford


Accomplishments 2018/2019

Matching 32 mutually beneficial mentoring relationships between members of the GYA initiative and at-risk scholars (as of November 2019), leading to increased professional network connections and opportunities for at-risk scholars.

The successful selection of at-risk scholars as new GYA members in 2019.

Skills training workshop held in April 2019 in collaboration with the EU Joint Research Centre.

Career development workshop held in September 2019, 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 low- and middle-income countries.

Further Information

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 2020, as well as other meetings, is anticipated.

Resources for At-Risk Scholars and Scientists

Scholarship and fellowship programmes for scholars at risk

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative

IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)

Council for At-Risk Academics (cara)

Scholars at Risk (SAR)

Harvard Scholars at Risk

Hestia – a Dutch Research Council programme to fund research appointments for academics residing in the Netherlands as refugees.

Other Resources

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.


Media Reception

“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” – 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