“We must support those who are affected"
Last week, the government called on all universities to discontinue their collaborations with state institutions in Russia and Belarus. What does it look like at KTH?
“Of course, we follow this call and, as far as we have reviewed our collaborations so far, we have at an overall level a few in education where KTH is the principal and in research. These will be frozen. We are also part of two research projects at EU level with Russian participation, which are coordinated by other universities. We do not have the full picture yet, but the mapping of the organisation is ongoing”, says Sigbritt Karlsson, President.
But can there be collaborations between researchers on an individual level?
“Yes, but we do not know how many there may be but are asking our researchers to reflect on whether it is really necessary to keep these going right now and to be very restrictive. But they should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”
What is the situation for staff and students from Russia and Belarus?
“KTH has no exchange agreements with these countries. We are not allowed and should not register citizenship for students and doctoral students and therefore do not know how many from there study at KTH. However, we know that we have employees from Russia and Ukraine. It is important that everyone feels safe at KTH despite the difficult situation in Ukraine. It is therefore important that Russian employees and students are not judged, treated badly and held accountable for the Russian state’s reprehensible actions. We must all help to support those affected and safeguard a good working environment- regardless of nationality.
What is KTH doing for vulnerable researchers who are forced to flee Ukraine?
”We are a part of Scholars at Risk and hope to help that way. If necessary, we will increase financial support for SAR.
What does the management think about this situation?
“KTH most strongly condemns Russia’s invasion, like the Swedish government, and like various academic organisations at the national and global level. But it is important, as mentioned, that we take extra time to support victims of the war who are in our vicinity and each other in the workplace in various ways.”
“KTH’s management is monitoring the situation in Ukraine carefully and the government’s and any other authorities’ recommendations. It is also important to thoroughly think through what KTH can and possibly should do.
Text: Jill Klackenberg