Ukraine War; What Science Collaborations Are Withdrawn?

With the world coming up against Russia and many countries imposing sanctions, what scientific collaborations between Russia and other countries are cut by the Ukraine war?

Despite some countries are for isolating Russian’s scientific community, there are many others who doubt of doing so.


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which signed a deal with Russia in 2011 for establishing the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), has now withdrawn from the project. As per the deal, Russia gave 300 million dollars to help found the English-language research university on the outskirts of Moscow. On February 25, a day after Russian invaded Ukraine, the MIT dissolved its partnership with Skoltech.

Further, the European Commission suspended Russia’s participation in its flagship research program, Horizon Europe. Several of the research councils, including that of France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, froze collaborations with Russia.

Universities in Germany are taking a hard-line stance, cutting off funding for supported researchers in Russia. The European Space Agency (ESA) that condemned Russia said that it would be “fully implementing sanctions imposed on Russia by our Member States.” As such, the agency admitted that the ExoMars program – a collaboration with Roscosmos (Russia’s space agency) to look for signs of past life on Mars – would likely be delayed. “Sanctions and wider context make a launch in 2022 very unlikely,”’ ESA said, adding that it will continue to monitor the situation “in close contact with its Member States.”


Several scientific organisations have also rejected pleas for curtailing its relation with Russia. One such is the International Astronomical Union that rejected a petition from Ukrainian astronomers to ban Russian astronomers from IAU activities. IAU President Debra Elmegreen wrote in email reply to Yaroslav Yatskiv, president of the Ukrainian Astronomy Association, stating that it would be like making a political statement, which the IAU cannot do. Moreover, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) fusion reactor in France has no plans at present to expel Russia, which is a full member of one of the world’s biggest science collaborations.

Meanwhile, Universities UK, which represents the nation’s vice chancellors, asked its members to review collaborations with Russia on a case-by-case basis. It said that they do not support a blanket boycott.

CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, in Switzerland, is walking a fine line. In a special session on March 8, representatives from the lab’s 23 member states voted to suspend Russia’s “observer” status and barred its representatives from auditing the council’s deliberations. However, it did not expel the more than 1,000 Russian scientists at the Centre.


As the war continues, several labs and institutes in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere are throwing open their doors for scientists from Ukraine. The Polish Young Academy, part of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), has already found accommodations and jobs for dozens of Ukrainian researchers,


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