April 18, 2022

Purdue takes first steps to welcome to campus Ukrainian scholars seeking refuge from their war-torn country

11 faculty have been accepted and matched with hosts; 15 are in review or being processed, hoping to restart their academic pursuits here amid Russia invasion

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University has extended an invitation and matched 11 faculty members and scholars from war-torn Ukraine with campus hosts, providing refuge in the United States so they can continue their academic pursuits here.

The university is working with another 15 scholars from the Eastern European country whose requests are either in review or being processed to potentially be a part of Purdue’s Ukrainian Scholars Initiative.

“If we can make a home, at least temporarily, here for these outstanding talents in academics, that’s what America has always done throughout its history. Purdue feels a deep calling to create this opportunity for our Ukrainian academic colleagues on our campus, which already has one of this nation’s most globally diverse faculty,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

The goal is for Purdue to host up to 20 Ukrainian scholars who have been displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began Feb. 24 and is now in its eighth week.

“We will be able to accept more than 20 scholars if the research interests of prospective Ukrainian scholars continue to match up well with Purdue faculty expertise,” said Mike Brzezinski, dean of international programs at Purdue.

In total, inquiries have come from nearly 50 scholars expressing a desire to be a part of Purdue’s Ukrainian program in chemistry, engineering, cybersecurity, physics, health and human sciences and other areas, he said.

With the logistics and travel accommodations from a country in the midst of war, he said it likely would be late spring or early summer before any scholars from Ukraine would arrive at the Purdue campus.

Through the initiative, those directly impacted by the war who have faculty positions at Ukrainian universities and who are engaged in academic programs or research could resume their scholarship activities at Purdue. Additionally, Ukrainian students enrolled in doctoral programs who are at the dissertation research stage of their degree program would be welcomed.

Purdue’s initiative is designed to directly help those faculty members and scholars in Ukraine whose academic pursuits have been derailed by the conflict. But the effort also will benefit Purdue students, the broader academic community and Greater Lafayette.

“Simply by their presence at Purdue, these Ukrainian scholars will personify the quest for freedom and be living reminders to many of our students who have never seen what real oppression looks like and how precious and fragile true freedom really is,” Daniels added.

While at Purdue, Ukrainian visiting scholars could either engage in their own research or support research conducted by Purdue faculty members. The goal is to accommodate the visiting scholars and their dependents (spouse and/or children), Brzezinski said.

Each visiting scholar would be assigned a tenure-track faculty sponsor within their academic area who would serve as a mentor and advisor. Visiting scholars will hold J-1 visa status, but they would not be eligible to enroll in any degree-granting program.

The intended program length is one calendar year, but an extension may be possible depending on the circumstances in Ukraine. 

Visiting scholars would receive a monthly stipend, plus financial assistance for dependents (spouse or child under age 21). Purdue would cover visa expenses and round-trip transportation costs, and scholars also would be offered health insurance through Purdue’s benefits program.

“The response and connections we have made since announcing the preliminary details for our Ukrainian Scholars Initiative two weeks ago has been overwhelming,” Brzezinski said.

“Clearly, there’s a tremendous amount of interest from U.S. universities desiring to do everything within their power for our Ukrainian academic colleagues whose research and scholarship have been disrupted by the invasion. We are heartened that Purdue will be able to offer at least a temporary refuge to several Ukrainian scholars during this very difficult time in their history.”

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu, 765-430-6189

Source: Mike Brzezinski, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu, 765-494-9399

Note to journalists: Visitors to campus should follow standards set in Protect Purdue guidelines.

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