Scientific Organizations Form International Group to Advance Ukrainian Science and Support Researchers

Breakthrough Prize Foundation Provides $3 Million.

WASHINGTON – With a $3 million donation from the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, a high-level, international coordinating group of scientific organizations has been established to take concrete steps to support Ukraine’s scientists and research community with the aim of rebuilding a successful global science and innovation system in Ukraine.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Polish Academy of Sciences will act as secretariats for the coordinating group, which initially includes representatives from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the All European Academies, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Australian Academy of Science, the French Academy of Sciences, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom.

This $3 million pledge from the Breakthrough Prize Foundation follows a $1 million donation it made earlier this year to the NAS’ Scientists and Engineers in Exile or Displaced (SEED) initiative, which has been helping Ukrainian scientists and engineers maintain their livelihoods and dignity during the current upheaval by remaining employed and connected to the global scientific community.

As the war in Ukraine continues, the global research community is increasingly concerned about immediate and lasting damage to the Ukrainian science enterprise and global research. Millions of Ukrainians – including hundreds of researchers – have been forced to flee their country, and much critical science infrastructure in Ukraine has been damaged or destroyed. While science institutes inside the country are still functioning, some researchers have joined the Ukrainian military, and others who remain have lost financial support due to wartime cuts in funding. In addition, researchers who have left Ukraine – including more than 200 researchers who have been placed temporarily in Polish research institutions – also need financial support and opportunities to continue their research.

The Ukrainian Science, Innovation, and Research Coordinating Group will provide a venue for participants to support Ukrainian researchers, share insights and best practices, identify areas that might benefit from additional collaboration, and highlight areas of potential overlap or redundancy. The group’s initial efforts will focus on making tangible progress on the action steps developed after a meeting in Warsaw in early June.

“The world needs Ukrainian science, and Ukrainian science needs support,” said Yuri Milner, founder of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. “It’s an honor to collaborate with such distinguished partners on this important and timely initiative.”

“As the war grinds on, it is no accident that Ukraine’s research infrastructure – which is so critical to the nation’s future – continues to be targeted by the Russian military,” said NAS President Marcia McNutt. “With the help of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, the international scientific community is coming together not only to provide much-needed support to Ukrainian researchers during the war but also to ensure that the Ukrainian research enterprise is ready to help rebuild the country and contribute to global science when the war ends.”

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing the world’s great scientists, advancing cutting-edge scientific research, and helping to create a knowledge culture in which everybody, especially the next generation, can be inspired by the big questions of science. The Breakthrough Prize, renowned as the “Oscars of Science,” recognizes the world’s top scientists in the fields of life sciences, fundamental physics, and mathematics. Each prize is $3 million. The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is an annual global video competition for students to inspire creative thinking about science.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and – with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine – provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.