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Promoting Academic Freedom in Ukraine

An Erasmus+ initiative that aims to improve academic freedom for Ukrainian academia, students, and staff, particularly those displaced or homebound.

GA number: 2023-1-AT01-KA220-HED-000164930

Funded by: Erasmus+      Duration: 01/12/2023-30/11/2026


The devastating consequences of the armed conflict in Ukraine for higher education are apparent. Besides immediate effects, Ukraine keeps losing its talent – on the battlefield, by displacement, through the flight of experts, and because of the disruption of educational offers. The war inflicts not only damages on individuals but also affects academic values, among them academic freedom.

Academic freedom is understood as “a distinct, fundamental democratic right” and designates the freedom of the academic community to research, teach, learn and disseminate research and teaching outcomes within and outside the higher education sector. Academic freedom must be mainly protected and promoted by the state. While not unwilling, Ukraine is currently unable to ensure its fulfilment due to the factual circumstances.


The project aims to enhance academic freedom for Ukrainian academic community members and mitigate the impact of talent loss and brain drain in Ukraine through educational activities fostering international university cooperation and the cultivation of a strategic vision for a more inclusive higher education sector.


The project aims to map the displacement of faculty and students from Ukrainian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to ensure their inclusion and expertise in the project.

A formal network will be established between Ukraine and the EU, with a network coordinator at each HEI.

A baseline study will be conducted to understand the motives, conditions, and perspectives of academia members regarding their future careers.

A best practice manual will be developed for EU HEIs to support and integrate displaced Ukrainian academia, addressing the lack of structural approaches in integrating them into the EU higher education system.

FreeAc aims to identify and bridge war-induced teaching capacity gaps at Ukrainian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) through a needs assessment and gap analysis.

Online lectures will be provided by experts from the developed network.

A summer school on academic freedom in conflict will be co-designed, discussing the different aspects of freedom of academia in armed conflict and allowing for an informed exchange between Ukrainian displaced academia and EU counterparts.

Ukrainian researchers will have access to the European academic landscape, allowing them to present their research to other members of academia and the public. This will ensure their voices are heard and synergies in research interest are discovered.

The joint research on the effects of the armed conflict on Ukraine’s academic sector will build on the baseline study conducted and will develop a post-war strategic outlook for the higher education system. The strategic outlook will be discussed at a multi-stakeholder workshop, aiming to align the post-war Ukrainian higher education system with the values of the EHEA.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

Project Partners

KMOP – Education and Innovation Hub, Greece
Universitaet Graz, Austria
World University Service, Austria
International Humanitarian University, Ukraine
Sumy State University, Ukraine
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
CESIE, Italy
Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland



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