The UK National Academies with Cara (the Council for At-Risk Academics) is establishing a Researchers at Risk Fellowships Programme. The Fellowships will cover the physical and biological sciences, medical and health sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences and the arts, with applications made via UK-based institutions.
At its outset the programme received £3 million of UK Government funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The Nuffield Foundation, an independent charitable trust, also contributed £0.5 million towards the scheme. From this submission window, the programme is receiving further UK Government funding of £9.8 million from BEIS and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. SAGE Publishing Ltd is also contributing £50,000 towards the scheme.
The British Academy is establishing this Researchers at Risk Fellowships Programme with the support of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society and Cara. The first priority of the Programme will be as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has exposed Ukrainian-based researchers to direct threat. We wish to open the scheme more widely when possible.
The Programme aims to complement and be additional to the work already being done by UK institutions, including through their existing cooperation with Cara as members of the Cara Universities Network, enabling them to provide additional two-year fellowships to researchers at risk with funding of circa £37,000 per annum. Researchers and innovators supported through this programme will be able to take up these temporary fellowships at UK institutions, continue their research, enhance their skills and build long-lasting collaborative links with UK counterparts.
Applications must be made by UK-based institutions. See a summary of the requirements that will be needed to complete an application below. All elements must be submitted to be considered within the submission window. Any missing elements will result in the application remaining open for the following submission window.
- There will need to be a named applicant who the Academy requires to be a member of staff at the UK host institution; a named academic mentor at the same institution; and a named researcher at risk.
- Information to support an eligibility check on the researcher at risk including a CV, location of researcher, confirmation of language proficiency, and confirmation that the researcher has not yet been supported by an equivalent scheme.
- A risk assessment letter provided by Cara.
- A joint statement from the academic mentor and researcher at risk.
- An institutional statement including information about the accommodation being offered.
- A financial statement and justification.
Visas will be required. Currently, in order for the researcher at risk to be able to utilise the Ukrainian Sponsorship Scheme – if this route is chosen – the UK host institution will need to name an individual who will act as the sponsor for the researcher’s visa and meet the requirements of the government’s scheme including having identified at least six months’ duration of appropriate accommodation. The named sponsor for the visa could be the same (but does not have to be) as the host applicant for this fellowship award or the academic mentor at the UK host institution.
For the purposes of this Programme, an individual is defined as being at risk if they are subject to discrimination, persecution, suffering or violence on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. The UK national academies do not determine whether a risk exists. This is done via a risk assessment conducted by Cara, who will provide a supporting letter where the risk is assessed as real. The risk of a pertinent threat has to be proven for each application submitted. Only UK host institutions may contact Cara to conduct a threat assessment at
For the purposes of this Programme, a ‘researcher’ is considered a person who has been engaged in teaching or research at a university, research institute or equivalent institution. Likewise, for the purpose of this programme an ‘innovator’ is someone who possesses knowledge, expertise and qualifications similar to a researcher, and is primarily concerned with using such knowledge and expertise to develop, test and deploy new ways of doing things in some field of practice.
Researchers and innovators in any field – physical and biological sciences, medical and health sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences and the arts – may be considered for funding if they:
- Hold a doctoral degree (or have equivalent experience).
- Are confirmed by Cara to be at risk.
- Are either still in Ukraine or it is not more than five years since they left Ukraine.
- Possess the language skills required for the successful completion of their academic project.
- Possess academic qualifications and can show other evidence of an active academic career (eg, publications).
- Have not yet been supported through an equivalent scheme/opportunity.
Value and duration
The awards are expected to run for up to two years each from a starting date to be agreed with the British Academy. The total amount available is circa £37,000 per year (£74,000 over two years). There is the potential for the Selection Panel to recommend an increase or decrease in award value in response to individual circumstances such as large families or subsidised accommodation arrangements.
Eligible expenditure to cost into the application include a contribution to living expenses and a contribution to research expenses.
UK host institution costs are not eligible. There is no provision for estate and indirect costs under this Programme and it is not offered under Full Economic Costing (FEC). The purchasing of assets is generally ineligible.
All eligible proposals submitted in response to the call will be considered by a Selection Panel of the UK National Academies and Cara. Eligible applications will be considered using the following criteria:
a) The UK host institution’s ability and commitment to provide an enabling and supportive academic and living environment for the proposed award holder including specific support measures the institution will put in place.
b) The compatibility between the proposed award holder, their academic mentor and the UK host institution.
The purpose of this Programme is to increase the range of opportunities available to researchers at risk. It is not intended as a replacement to the generous support which many UK institutions are already providing, in partnership with Cara, to researchers at risk, and institutions may wish to comment on this in their Supporting Statement. This will be one of the factors considered when proposals are reviewed.
Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy's Grant Management System (GMS), Flexi-Grant®.
The call will remain open on a rolling basis with monthly deadlines for applications until all funding has been utilised. The Academy will announce on its website when the funding has been fully utilised. The first deadline for applications will be 5:00pm (BST) on Wednesday 20 July 2022. Subsequent deadlines will be published in due course.