FreeAc – Promoting Academic Freedom in Ukraine

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Address Ukraine’s talent loss by enhancing collaboration with EU Higher Education institutions (HEIs), empowering Ukrainian academia for research, learning, teaching, and disseminating research results, thereby minimizing brain drain impacts.


The project FreeAc addresses the urgent need to support Ukrainian academia amidst the challenges of an international armed conflict. With a focus on mitigating talent loss and brain drain, it aims to develop both short-term relief and long-term strategies for Higher Education. Drawing from successful interventions in past European conflicts like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, FreeAc leverages experiences in supporting Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) during and after wartime. The current situation in Ukraine echoes these past crises, with thousands of academics leaving the country, posing a significant risk to the operational capacity of HEIs.

By prioritizing academic freedom and offering avenues for continued research, learning, and teaching, FreeAc seeks to sustain Ukrainian academia through joint educational activities and strategic partnerships with EU counterparts. Ultimately, it aims to integrate Ukrainian HEIs into the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), ensuring their long-term resilience and contributing to a post-war strategic outlook for the country’s Higher Education system.


  • To enable HEIs in Ukraine and the EU to maintain and improve links and collaboration with members of Ukrainian academia, students and academic staff, displaced or homebound, and understand patterns of displacement and its implications for rebuilding the Ukrainian higher education system.
  • To equip EU HEIs to develop structural approaches to provide quick and effective responses to forced displacement of members of academia.
  • To uphold and improve the freedom of the Ukrainian academia to teach and learn.
  • To uphold academic freedom through supporting Ukrainian researcher, their research and the dissemination of research outcomes.
  • To understand the impacts of the war on the higher education system in Ukraine.
  • To develop a post-war strategic outlook on the loss of talent and brain drain for the rebuilding and further development of the Ukrainian Higher Education sector in line with academic values.


  • Mapping the displacement of members of academia of participating Ukrainian HEIs
  • Identification of war-induced teaching capacity gaps at participating Ukrainian HEIs;
  • Creation of mutually beneficial academic opportunities;
  • Summer school on academic freedom in conflict;
  • Access of Ukrainian researchers to the European academic landscape for dissemination of individual research;
  • Joint research on the effects of the armed conflict on the academic sector in Ukraine


  • Database of displaced faculty and students of each participating Ukrainian HEI.
  • Formal network between partner organisations in Ukraine and the EU.
  • Baseline study about motives, conditions, and perspectives of members of academia concerning their future careers.
  • Best practice manual on supporting and integrating members of the Ukrainian academia.
  • Post-War Strategic Outlook on the mitigation of brain drain for the restoration and further development of the Ukrainian higher education sector.
  • Newsletters.


  • Mitigation of the effects of brain drain and loss of talent in Ukraine;
  • Retention of operability and enhancement of the attractiveness of Ukrainian HEIs to students;
  • Fostered sense of connection and belonging among Ukrainian participants to their academic institutions and to displaced members of academia, yielding positive psychological outcomes;
  • Retention and enhancement of the capability of Ukrainian institutions to collaborate with EU partners;
  • Increased visibility and personal networks of Ukrainian researchers in the EU academic landscape;
  • Strengthened capabilities of EU participating organisations to cooperate with and lend support to HEIs in times of crisis and under difficult circumstances.


Il progetto

FreeAc – Promoting Academic Freedom in Ukraine

Numero di progetto


Data di attuazione

01/12/2023 – 30/11/2026

Istituzione Finanziatrice

Erasmus+, KA220-HED – Cooperation partnerships in higher education



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