Boris Johnson unveils support package for Ukrainian tech entrepreneurs

prime minister ukraine tech Image credit : Shutterstock / I T S

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a package to support Ukraine’s science, technology and research sectors amid Russia’s ongoing bloody invasion.

The support package includes an additional £9.8m for the Researchers at Risk scheme, launched in March to help more than 130 Ukrainian scientists, researchers and tech entrepreneurs to resume their work in UK institutions. It follows an initial £3m in funding for the project.

“Science and technology will be decisive in ensuring Putin fails in Ukraine, and it will be crucial as we rebuild the Ukrainian economy. The UK will be with our Ukrainian friends every step of the way,” said Johnson on Tuesday.

The Researchers at Risk scheme fellowship gives Ukrainian academics a salary, research and living costs for two years.

“And to the Russian scientists and researchers who are looking upon Putin’s violence in dismay, and who no longer feel safe in Russia: you should feel free to apply to come to the UK and work in a country that values openness, freedom and the pursuit of knowledge,” added Johnson.

Technology has already played its part in supporting Ukraine, such as donations through crypto or big tech companies suspending their services in Russia.

The prime minister also announced the UK will supply funding to the Universities UK International and the Cormack Consultancy Group twinning programme between UK and Ukraine academic institutions.

Currently, 79 UK universities have signed up for the programme.

The Department for International Trade is ramping efforts in Ukraine as a part of its Global Entrepreneur Programme based in Poland, which provides temporary relocation, mentorship and UK industry connections.

The UK Research and Innovation will also prioritise Ukrainian researchers, technologists and others for global talent visa endorsement applications.

“Thanks to the support of the United Kingdom, Ukrainian scientists who were forced to flee abroad due to Russian aggression will be able to continue their research and share their experience with foreign colleagues,” said Serhii Shkarlet, Ukrainian minister for science and education. “Equally important is the support of Ukrainian universities, which thanks to the new UK twinning programme will be able to cooperate with leading universities in the UK.”

Earlier this year UKTN looked at how UK tech businesses were playing their part in supporting Ukraine.