The Czech Academy of Sciences supports scientists in Ukraine / Академія наук Чеської Республіки підтримує українських науковців

28. 03. 2022

The Czech Academy of Sciences categorically condemns the acts of aggression by the Russian Federation against the territorial integrity and political order of Ukraine, which culminated during the early hours of 24 February 2022 in the invasion of the country. The Academy has decided to offer support in the form of fellowships, employment, and accommodation to university students, postdoctoral researchers, and scientists from Ukraine. The following text is an overview of some of these acts of support, linking to our web portal Help for Ukraine.

“Scientists and scholars cannot remain silent in the face of a war conflict on the territory of Europe. We stand on the side of respect for human rights, freedoms, and democracy. We express our full support and are ready to lend a helping hand to our colleagues in Ukraine,” said Eva Zažímalová, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences, on 25 February 2022 in reaction to the invasion of Ukraine.

“We are therefore addressing academics and university students from Ukraine and other countries threatened by the war conflict through a new programme of international cooperation that is currently being finalised. Similar programmes are also being prepared by the individual institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences,” said David Honys, member of the Academic Council of the CAS, who coordinates the international cooperation of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

The Czech Academy of Sciences is currently cooperating with the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), established in 1918, on six projects, including a study on the virus resistance of potato transgenic plants (with the Institute of Experimental Botany of the CAS), research on organic matter in the coastal soils of Antarctica (Biology Centre of the CAS) or polymer composites for welding and 3D printing (the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the CAS).

Read the statement in Ukrainian here: Академія наук Чехії підтримує науковців в Україні

What is and isn't a just war?
The individual institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences have also expressed their support for Ukraine, including the Karel Čapek Center for Values in Science and Technology (CEVAST), a platform consisting of the Institute of Philosophy of the CAS, the Institute of Computer Science of the CAS, the Institute of State and Law of the CAS, and the Faculty of Science of the Charles University:

“Unfortunately, although humankind should now be focusing its efforts on mitigating the effects of the coming climate change or considering how to address the impact of the roboticized economy on society, the government the Russian Federation has decided to plunge the world deep into the past, into the era of imperialism and wars of conquest,” CEVAST writes in its statement, where it also explains the just war theory (a doctrine of military ethics), which is not being observed by Russia.

The full CEVAST statement can be found here.

CEVAST has also launched a new website devoted to the just war theory (Czech only) where readers can find recordings of lectures on this topic and other information.

Social media profiles turn blue and yellow
Institutes of the Academy of Sciences have also condemned the Russian aggression on their social media profiles, including the Institute of History of the CAS, the Biology Centre of the CAS, the Institute of Psychology of the CAS and the Institute of Experimental Medicine of the CAS, which has decided to donate 200,000 CZK to humanitarian aid efforts.

Scientists from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS also expressed their support for Ukraine. “If you are in need of temporary employment and accommodation for scientists at our institute, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best,” wrote the director of the institute, Zdeněk Hostomský, along with the chairman of the institute’s council, Pavel Jungwirth, to their colleagues at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The full text of the letter was published by the institute on its website

Scientists demand: Stop the violence!
The Learned Society of the Czech Republic has appealed to the Russian Academy of Sciences to ask its government to listen to the voice of reason and stop the aggression against Ukraine. “No international disagreements, no differences of opinion, and no alleged fears about the future of national minorities in nearby countries give anyone the right to employ military force, nor do they justify the destruction of cities and villages, and the killing of civilians and soldiers who defend their land,” the letter states. “It is necessary to listen to the voice of reason and with it to the voice of humanity. War runs over the principles on which the community of scholars stands, and it is to this community that you and we belong. Help us stop the war!”

Russian scientists and science journalists have since issued a statement condemning the invasion. “This fatal step leads to huge human losses and undermines the foundations of the established system of international security. The responsibility for unleashing a new war in Europe lies entirely with Russia,” they write.

Representatives of the Czech scientific community have already expressed their solidarity with the signatories of the open letter; including, for instance, the management and board of the Institute of Philosophy of the CAS.

The war conflict a complication for cooperation in space
The Astronomical Institute of the CAS warns that the war conflict will also negatively affect operations and research in space – particularly regarding the International Space Station (ISS) and the upcoming 2022 ExoMars mission to Mars. 

The International Space Station (ISS) has a crew of seven – four Americans (three men and one woman), two Russians, and one German ESA astronaut. Currently, they are discussing how to proceed; whether the project can carry on in its current form or whether it will somehow be divided into a Russian section and an international section. “In practice, splitting the ISS into a Russian and an international (US) section is feasible. However, the actual functionality of two separate stations would probably be very complicated,” the Astronomical Institute of the CAS stated in its press release

The planned 2022 ExoMars mission to the red planet is also running into major problems. This scientific mission to Mars has been long in the making, jointly planned and implemented by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos. A Russian Proton rocket is to be used to launch the mission on 20 September 2022 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, whether this will actually happen remains up in the air. More in the aforementioned press release.

CAS institutes to offer accommodation
Scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the CAS also joined in on firmly condemning the Russian aggression. “Given the current circumstances, we are trying to provide quick and immediate help to the refugees by offering them accommodation at our field station Mohelno. In the long term, we are ready to provide assistance to our Ukrainian colleagues within our institute as well as in coordination with the activities of the Czech Academy of Sciences.”

Podporujeme Ukrajinu_eng

Text: The Czech Academy of Sciences
Photo: Shutterstock

The Czech Academy of Sciences (the CAS)

The mission of the CAS

The primary mission of the CAS is to conduct research in a broad spectrum of natural, technical and social sciences as well as humanities. This research aims to advance progress of scientific knowledge at the international level, considering, however, the specific needs of the Czech society and the national culture.

President of the CAS

Prof. Eva Zažímalová has started her second term of office in May 2021. She is a respected scientist, and a Professor of Plant Anatomy and Physiology.

She is also a part of GCSA of the EU.