Inspireurope is a 10-partner project funded under the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska- Curie Actions and coordinated by Scholars at Risk Europe at Maynooth University, Ireland. Inspireurope facilitates transnational cooperation across Europe to support researchers at risk. The project partners include global leaders in the provision of support for researchers at risk. By joining forces in this way, Inspireurope is coordinating and strengthening support across Europe for researchers at risk. Inspireurope partners share a common commitment to defending academic freedom and to the support, promotion and integration of researchers at risk in their respective research and innovation ecosystems.
Researchers at risk
Researchers at risk include researchers, scholars, and scientists at all stages of their research careers, including doctoral candidates through to experienced researchers and professors, who are experiencing threats to their life, liberty, or research career, and those who are forced or have been forced to flee because of such threats.
While some researchers at risk have recognised refugee status, asylum status, or similar protection status, a more significant proportion of those seeking the assistance of NGOs specialising in the field of scholar protection are outside the refugee process, seeking or holding temporary visas/work permits through visiting research/scholar positions at host universities in Europe or elsewhere, outside their home countries.
The global Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) reports that although each individual researcher’s situation is unique, clear patterns have emerged within the 5,000+ applications for assistance the Network has received since its founding in 2000. Based on over 20 years’ experience receiving requests for assistance from at-risk scholars, professors, researchers, doctoral students, institutional leaders and other members of higher education communities, SAR identifies three broad categories of risk reported:
a) Risk due to the content of a scholar’s work, research, or teaching being perceived as threatening by authorities or other groups. When the development of ideas, exchange of information, and expression of new opinions are considered threatening, individual scholars/ researchers are particularly vulnerable.
b) Risk because of the individual’s status as academics/researchers. Because of their education, frequent travel, and professional standing, scholars are often prominent members of their community. Where a scholar is a member of a political, ethnic, or religious minority, female, or a member of LGBTQ+ communities, an attack on an individual scholar may be a highly visible and efficient means for intimidating and silencing others. For additional information please consult How to Host: A Handbook for Higher Education Partners, Scholars at Risk Network.
c) Risk as a result of their peaceful exercise of basic human rights, in particular, the right to freedom of expression or freedom of association. This includes the many scholars who have sought refuge abroad because conflict in their home country has made normal academic work impossible. The effects of conflict may include the physical destruction of university buildings, unreliable supplies of electricity and water, the breakdown of local internet provision, the risk of imminent conscription for male scholars, and a rise in general criminality, including kidnapping for ransom, with academics being seen as relatively well-paid and therefore as attractive targets.
For a wider background and context on support for researchers at risk in Europe, we invite readers to review the Inspireurope Mapping Report: Researchers at Risk: Mapping Europe’s Response.
- NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND MAYNOOTH (Ireland)
- Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (Germany)
- ASSOCIATION EUROPEENNE DE L'UNIVERSITE (Belgium)
- UNIWERSYTET JAGIELLONSKI (Poland)
- UNIVERSITETET I OSLO (Norway)
- GOETEBORGS UNIVERSITET (Sweden)
- COLLEGE DE FRANCE (France)
- Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten UAF (Netherlands)
- ARISTOTELIO PANEPISTIMIO THESSALONIKIS - EIDIKOS LOGARIASMOS KONDILION EREVNAS EL (Greece)
- Scholz - consulting training coaching (Germany)
International partner: Scholars at Risk Network
Funded by: European Union, Horizon 2020
For more information, please visit the project website.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 857742.