George Freeman – 2022 Statement on Support for Ukrainian Researchers

The statement made by George Freeman, the Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, on 27 March 2022.

Science is an overwhelming force for peaceful cooperation. Through free and open academic discourse we can deliver benefits for humanity and the globe as we seek to address the most pressing challenges of our time.

The appalling invasion demands that we all take a stand and show our solidarity and support for Ukraine. The government has taken the decision to suspend publicly funded research and innovation collaborations with Russian Universities and companies of strategic benefit to the Russian state. Our aim is to introduce measures that will negatively impact the Russian state, and individuals and organisations with strong links to the Kremlin, but not to sanction individual Russian scientists or innovators with benign research interests.

We are therefore today taking action:

1. All payments for projects delivered through UK public research funds with a Russian dimension have been paused. I have commissioned an assessment, on top of the existing and strong due diligence processes of UK public research funders, to isolate and freeze activities which benefit the Russian regime.

2. We will not fund any new collaborative projects with Russia through our research and innovation organisations.

3. We have suspended existing government to government dialogue through our science and innovation network team in Russia including their collaborative science projects.

4. Where the UK is a member of multilateral organisations, we are working at pace with partners to respond appropriately – holding Russia to account for its actions while diminishing and isolating its influence.

5. We are standing up a £3 million package of support for Ukrainian researchers at risk. We stand with Ukraine, its democratically elected government and its brave people at this awful time.