Needs Assessment of Scholars and Workers at Risk Fleeing Ukraine in March 2022


Updated 15 March 2022 by Michael J. Bojdys (Humboldt University of Berlin and King’s College London). Sourced from Yehveniia Polishchuk (Young Scientists Councils at the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine), Hryhoriy Dmytriv (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv), and Marcin Ratajczak (CEO Inuru GmbH).

[DOWNLOAD] This briefing in english,

[DOWNLOAD] Dieses Briefing auf deutsch.


This briefing draws on the intelligence from leading personnel at crowd-sourced aid initiatives (i) ScienceForUkraine – a curated list of world-wide research groups who can take up refugee scientists with immediate effect – and (ii) Jobs4Ukraine – a curated, EU-wide registry of companies who can take up white- and blue-collar workers at risk. The briefing aims to explore the key needs of these displaced demographics fleeing Ukraine to inform decision-making and fund-allocation in host countries with a focus on the United Kingdom and Germany. In the briefing, you will find a visual representation of this topic, and the key needs that we identified and links to external resources.

Sampled Demographic

According to the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine, approx. 6300 scientists moved abroad in the first 19 days of war, and 20% of them likely will stay abroad forever. Key needs were identified on the basis of ad hoc interviews with no defined set of questions with a non-representative sample of < 50 respondents applying via the crowd-sourced ScienceForUkraine and Jobs4Ukraine platforms. Interviewees are predominantly female (> 80%) and in the age group 20 to 55. Applicants via ScienceForUkraine have a high school diploma (100%), a bachelor degree or equivalent (70%), a master degree of equivalent (> 60%), a doctoral degree (30%). Applicants via Jobs4Ukraine have a high school diploma (> 80%).

Key Needs (immediate on arrival in host country)

Operational Language

Most young (< 40 years) scientists and skilled workers have a good to excellent command of English (B2 and above). Age groups 40+ will generally fall below English proficiency of B2 level.

German language proficiency is sparser (approx. < 10% of the demographic) and shows an inverse age dependence (with age groups 40+ being more proficient in German than the age group < 40).

Learning English as an operational language for basic communication and access to services is a need-priority.

In the German context, English will work as an operational language only in most large (and demographically young) urban settings, and a need for operational German language skills was identified.

Access to State-Services

Respondents from the entire sampled demographic voiced the need for operational access to health services, job centres, and schools. A majority (> 80%) of the sampled demographic are women with an average of 2 children per family.

Child Education

A majority (> 80%) of the sampled demographic are women with an average of 2 children per family. There is a need for continuous school education for children and teenagers in this demographic to ensure that children experience no competitive disadvantages moving further into and out of the crisis.

Business Opportunities

Respondents from the sampled demographic voiced the need for job opportunities and networking opportunities. Many are hopeful that they can implement their experiences with “Western” officials, with businesses, and with newly established networks to improve their immediate situation and – moving beyond the crisis – in rebuilding their country.

In the academic context, scholars at risk need immediate, individual scholarship. In the mid- to long-term, they wish to re-establish contacts with their home-institutions and support the rebuilding effort – this will necessitate consortia funding opportunities that incorporate Ukrainian institutions.

Key Needs (mid-/long-term)


Respondents from scholars at risk expressed the wish to restore universities, research centres in their home-country. Respondents from workers at risk wish to restore their businesses.

Respondents from both groups (scholars and workers) think that this crisis can be a chance to make education, research, and business systems more efficient and modern in Ukraine moving beyond the crisis. Expectations are that the immediate crisis will persist half a year to a year – maybe longer.


(1) Science4Ukraine was initiated by ILFA University of Latvia and supported by national organisations e.g. German-Ukrainian Academic Society as a curated list of world-wide research groups who can take up scholars at risk with immediate effect. The chief-contact here is Yevheniia Polishchuk (Vice-head of the Young Scientists Council at the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine).

(2) Jobs4Ukraine was co-initiated by Marcin Ratajczak (CEO of Inuru GmbH, an SME operating in Berlin and Warsaw). Jobs4Ukraine is a curated, currently EU-wide list of companies who can take up refugee workers and technical staff with immediate effect, and a registry of white- and blue-collar workers seeking jobs.