Simons Foundation Providing Support to Researchers in Ukraine

Scientists and mathematicians in Ukraine are continuing to conduct their research in the face of Russian bombings, failing power grids, Internet disruptions and shattered windows. Today, the Simons Foundation is announcing its support of 405 Ukrainian mathematicians, biologists, physicists and chemists who remain in Ukraine. In total, the foundation will award more than $1.2 million in funding over 12 months.

“There is a lot of activity supporting Ukrainian scientists who escaped the war and left the country, but not a lot of thought was given to the scientists who remained there,” says Gregory Gabadadze, associate director of the Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences division. Supporting these researchers “is important for science itself, but also for the country and the people in this situation.”

The program provides each active Ph.D. researcher a $200 monthly stipend and each Ph.D. student a $100 monthly stipend. The money isn’t earmarked for a particular use and is in addition to the recipient’s salary. Additional funding will support the researchers’ host institutions.

This funding “is essential to sustain [the researchers],” Gabadadze says, “and for them to work, do research and educate young people.”

“This support is important for us also from psychological and social points of view,” says Larissa Brizhik, who heads the Department of Theory of Nonlinear Processes in Condensed Matter at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyiv, Ukraine. “We all are very thankful.”

Simons Foundation president David Spergel conceived of a program supporting Ukrainian researchers shortly after the Russian invasion in February 2022. The undertaking came together relatively rapidly, with the foundation reaching out to the leaders of labs and research groups still active in the country. Gabadadze helped realize Spergel’s idea alongside Seran Lee-Johnson, Yuri Levin, Stanislav Shvartsman, Olga Troyanskaya, Rachel Williams and other members of the Simons Foundation staff.

Ultimately, the Simons Foundation accepted every application it received and extended the application period as many scientists lost power and Internet access due to missile strikes.

While the current round of funding is for 12 months, the foundation plans to continue supporting Ukrainian researchers for the duration of the war. When the war is over, the foundation will explore ways of supporting the Ukrainian science community as it rebuilds.

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