University of Leicester convenes scientists to preserve Ukraine research during crisis

The University of Leicester is bringing scientists together to support their colleagues in Ukraine in maintaining their skills and knowledge in the face of war.

It is hosting its first joint Summer School with Kremenchuk Mykhailo Otrohradskyi National University until Friday 14 July, in which fellow academics and researchers will be invited to share the latest thinking in aerospace, bioengineering, and artificial intelligence, to support research threatened by the war in Ukraine, and rebuilding efforts for the country.

It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Registrar and Secretary of the University of Leicester, Geoff Green, last December which commits both universities to explore collaboration in relation to research, education and strategic development over a five-year period.

The Summer School is an opportunity for academics and researchers in aerospace, bioengineering, and artificial intelligence to showcase their work and find synergic and parallel research interests among staff from the Universities of Kremenchuk and Leicester.  

The hope of the partnership is to develop these interests into research grant applications, industrial collaborations, sabbaticals, staff exchanges, and joint research student projects in 2023-2028. The aim is to preserve scholarly competences and assets at KrNU during the current crisis to capture opportunities for rapid economic development and scientific and technological leadership after the current crisis, in partnership with Leicester.

The Summer School will feature academic networking round tables both face-to-face and online, simulcast workshop and conference-style presentations with simulcast (live and online) visits to the research facilities at the Universities of Kremenchuk and Leicester. Hosted live at the School of Engineering with video link to Kremenchuk University, thematic activities will be supported by regional actors in the scientific disciplines of aerospace, bioengineering, artificial intelligence.

Dr Aldo Rona, from the School of Engineering, is organiser of the Summer School at the University of Leicester. Dr Rona said: “Organising this event was a privilege, it brought out a wealth of academic competences and synergies between Leicester and Kremenchuk. I was very happy to see the two-week programme filling up with face to face and on-line presentations, as well as with opportunities for visiting research laboratories and facilities. 

“There has been a strong buy-in from the wider Leicestershire higher education and research community, with activities at Space Park Leicester, De Montfort University and Leicester College. This was a team effort and my heartfelt thanks go to all technical, administrative, and academic colleagues who made this possible. 

“A special thanks goes to my counterpart, Associate Professor Andrii Gladyr, Director of the Center for International Activity, Kremenchuk, for his organisation of the Kremenchuk activities and the videoconferencing.”

Professor Mykhaylo Zagirnyak, Rector of the Kremanchuk Mykhailo Otrohradskyi National University, said: “I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the such strong support we feel from the entire UK people. Especially we would like to thank the administrative and academic staff of the University of Leicester for the manifestation of solidarity and the readiness and desire to support our students and staff. It is our great honour to cooperate with your university. 

“Participating in the twinning UK UA initiative strengthens ties between Ukraine’s research community and the United Kingdom’s, supports UA higher education establishments during wartime, and gives us hope to create a powerful network of professionals who work together to address future challenges. I really appreciate the engine of the programme, Associate Professor for the School of Engineering, Aldo Rona, who is doing outstanding work to make our visit as fruitful and useful as much as possible. 

“We also appreciate the staff and participants to the Summer School from the UK side who are delivering very interesting presentations. Let us feel and believe in a successful work in the future.”

This Summer School is funded by Universities UK International (UUKi) which is a funding allocation from Research England, part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It is an action of the UK-Ukraine Twinning Initiative, coordinated by the Cormack Consultancy Group (CCG), to develop bespoke programmes of work that address the reciprocal research and innovation needs of both Ukrainian and UK institutions and researchers.