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KTH supports at-risk scholars

Published Feb 18, 2022

In the KTH operational plan for 2022, the President has allocated funds to enable KTH to offer at-risk researchers temporary positions in the next few years. This will be done as part of KTH's membership in the organisation Scholars at Risk (SAR).

“This is an incredibly welcome decision. KTH is one of around 20 Swedish universities and academies that are members of SAR, and we are also part of the section SAR Sweden,” says Professor Nina Wormbs, who has been the KTH contact person for SAR since 2017.

Portrait of Professor Nina Wormbs
Professor Nina Wormbs

These funds allocated by the President mean KTH can offer sanctuary to scholars who are exposed to severe threats and violence in their home countries due to their academic activities. Thanks to a department-level initiative, KTH has previously been able to welcome scholars at risk, but with the new funds, more departments will have the financial means to host at-risk scholars. Dean Anders Forsgren is looking forward to the initiative.

“These funds in the operational plan offer KTH the opportunity to support SAR, and we are now going to start the important work of implementing this,” he says.

SAR-KTH is arranging an information meeting together with the Faculty Council, from 15.00 to 16.00 on 9 March, on how to host a scholar at risk .

“The meeting is aimed at anyone who would like to help scholars at risk from other parts of the world. We will explain how the process works in practice and what you need to think about,” says Vice Dean of Faculty Sofia Ritzén.

Wormbs is hoping that KTH will be able to do its bit in helping to defend the core values of higher education.

“Freedom of expression is under threat in many places, and we are in a privileged position here. If we can offer temporary sanctuary, we ought to do so,” says Wormbs on a final note.

Text: Louise Gustafsson

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About Scholars at Risk

Who are Scholars at Risk?

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an organisation founded over 20 years ago to support and defend the principles of academic freedom and defend the human rights of scholars around the world. Around 20 universities and academies are members of the Swedish section of SAR .

Read more about Scholars at Risk

How is being at-risk determined?

The Head Office of Scholars at Risk in the USA assesses a scholar at risk. They pair scholars together with host universities and departments.

How does the process work?

When a scholar at risk is offered sanctuary at a Swedish university, this will usually be on a temporary contract for one year. Such contracts are usually financed via a mix of funding, and it can sometimes be challenging to cover all costs. For this reason, the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) has allocated funds to co-finance contracts. SAR Sweden is the fund manager for this. However, in the case of KTH, not many candidates can receive such funding as RJ focuses on the Humanities and Social Sciences. Therefore, it is welcome news that Formas recently resolved to offer co-financing, which can benefit the KTH initiative.

The faculty funds allocated in the operational plan are ring-fenced, which means that KTH departments can accept scholars at risk without competing with other funding projects.

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Belongs to: KTH Intranet
Last changed: Feb 18, 2022