Measures undertaken by HSRW with regard to the war in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine has affected Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences (HSRW) and its members in a variety of ways due to the very international nature of our institution: over 50% of the student body is composed of international students, as compared to a country-wide average of 15% at other universities in Germany. Currently, 34 students from Ukraine, 84 from Russia, and five from Belarus are pursuing a degree at HSRW. None of our students are currently studying abroad in Ukraine.
Internationality is a distinguishing feature of our institution in teaching, research and partnerships. Since 2016, for example, the Faculty of Life Sciences has been partnered with the State Biotechnological University of Kharkiv, Ukraine – whose buildings have been damaged in the fighting – through the DAAD Eastern Partnerships programme. However, scientific exchange is currently impossible under current circumstances.
HSRW also has various partnership agreements with institutions in Russia, for example with ITMO, the State University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics in Saint Petersburg (Faculty of Technology and Bionics), as well as RANEPA, the Russian Academy of Economics and Public Service, also located in Saint Petersburg (Faculty of Society and Economics). Other partners include the Siberian Federal University and the Vologda State Dairy Farming Academy (Faculty of Life Sciences) under the DAAD Eastern Partnerships programme.
In reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent political and economic sanctions, universities and research organisations in Germany have suspended all work with partner institutions in Russia. The necessity of this decision was further cemented by a joint press release of the Russian Union of University Rectors, which stated that “right now, it is very important to support not only our country and our army, which defends our security, but also our president who has made perhaps the most difficult decision of his life: a hard-fought, but ultimately necessary decision.”
In scientific circles, this suspension of partnerships is a tightrope walk, but it is clear “that for now, no more funding should flow to Russia. Russian institutions must be sanctioned, with formal relations frozen or broken off completely. But on the ground, collaboration with individual researchers who share our Western values and democratic principles must remain unbroken. We must also ensure that young people and students from Russia have the opportunity to call our our Western science system home. Science diplomacy must be a final, enduring tie between us that never breaks”, said Dr Oliver Locker-Grütjen, President of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.
In line with its mission statement, HSRW will remain an open forum free of discrimination. We promote international scientific discourse as well as the exchange of cultural values and experiences. This openness is a contribution towards achieving mutual understanding between cultures in a deeply interconnected world. In these challenging times in particular, our University will vehemently defend the fundamental values of peace, liberty and democracy. With this in mind, one of the most pressing issues at the moment is increasing our capacity for students and researchers from Ukraine and rolling out additional support services.
Information services: Information for different status groups at HSRW will be published shortly on our website. A central coordination hub for any and all questions from students or staff has been created. This hub is located in the Centre for Internationalisation and Languages (ZIS) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening of guest auditorships: In each regular semester, there is the possibility to participate in courses at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences via guest auditorships. In the summer semester of 2022, which began with the start of lectures on 21 March 2022, (selected) courses of the Faculties of Technology and Bionics, Life Sciences and Society and Economics at the Kleve location of the university and the Faculty of Communication and Environment in Kamp-Lintfort will be open. Refugees from Ukraine are especially welcome! More information
Support for current students from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia: The Student Advisory Service along with the Welcome Centre, the Psychological Counselling Service and the General Students’ Committee (AStA) all offer support and counselling services that are open to all students and staff. Please contact them via the usual channels.
Students from Ukraine with Ukrainian citizenship: Ukrainian students who are enrolled in a university in Ukraine and seeking temporary refuge in Germany can apply for a residency permit in accordance with § 24 of the Residency Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) after registering with a town/city and the local immigration office.
As the summer semester lecture period begins on 21 March 2022 and the application deadline has already passed, it is no longer possible to enrol for summer semester. However, we are developing a programme specifically for Ukrainian students that will allow them to bridge the gap until winter semester 2022-23, for example via intensive language courses. The application phase for winter semester will start in May 2022.
Students from Ukraine from other countries: Students who are enrolled in a university in Ukraine, but who are not Ukrainian citizens themselves, are generally not entitled to residency in Germany. These students are entitled to transit visas in Germany so that they can more easily return to their home countries. (Exceptions are only possible if they qualify for refugee status due to conditions in their home country.) Nevertheless, this group of students – as with all prospective students – are also more than welcome to apply in May 2022 to secure a spot at HSRW for winter semester 2022-2023.
Ukrainian researchers: Researchers from Ukraine are currently receiving help through private channels at HSRW. One such researcher and her family have already arrived on the Lower Rhine. Preparations for two other families are currently underway. HSRW will also increase its involvement with the Scholars at Risk programme.
Researchers from Belarus and Russia: HSRW has suspended all partnerships with these two countries and all financial payments to them have ceased. The implications of this for researchers in Germany, Belarus and Russia will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.