Image: Warwick Media Library

Warwick among UK universities interested in Ukrainian university ‘twinning’

The University of Warwick is among the UK universities twinning with Ukrainian institutions to offer support to students and academics during the Russian invasion.

About 30 universities have expressed interest in a scheme, coordinated by the Cormack Consultancy Group with the support of Universities UK, that could give rise to support initiatives, and both short- and long-term collaboration.

As well as Warwick, institutions including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, St Andrew’s and Queen’s University Belfast have indicated a desire to be matched to counterparts in Ukraine. Ukrainian institutions interested in the scheme include V. N. Karazin, Kharkiv National University and Sumy State University. These institutions have already started discussing short-term support initiatives, including enabling Ukrainian academics to be based at UK universities, giving English-speaking students the opportunity to take online modules, protecting Ukrainian resources, hosting summer schools, and extending municipal relationships and psychological support.

“Our universities have a wealth of resources, knowledge and expertise, and we want to find practical ways to support Ukrainian universities now and in the future.”

–Professor Dame Janet Beer

Professor Dame Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool and chair of UUK’s international policy network, said: “UK universities have unequivocally condemned the war on Ukraine and we are committed to supporting Ukrainian staff and students currently in the UK as well as those who arrive here fleeing the conflict. 

“Our universities have a wealth of resources, knowledge and expertise, and we want to find practical ways to support Ukrainian universities now and in the future.

“That starts with understanding their current needs, and this twinning initiative is an excellent way for UK universities to support Ukrainian universities directly, in partnership alongside our higher education counterparts around the world.”

Charles Cormack, founder and chairman of Cormack Consultancy Group, said: “This project is designed to support Ukrainian universities to continue to function during this difficult time.

“By supporting them in their mission we are also minimising the risk of brain drain, with academics and students disappearing into the higher education systems of other countries.

“It also allows UK universities to focus their support on a particular partner, which allows them to see they are making a real difference to the lives of academics and students and helping to sustain their partner.” 

The University of Warwick has previously stated that all Ukrainian students and staff must be “cared for and supported”, and a 1 March letter by vice-chancellor Stuart Croft reaffirmed a commitment to “stand with Ukraine”.

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