Durham cuts research ties with universities in Russia and Belarus

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Durham University has suspended all bilateral research collaboration with institutions in Russia and Belarus, saying that no new research collaborations will be initiated “while Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine”.

In an email sent to all students this afternoon, the University said the decision was “in line with the UK Government, our major funders and the higher education sector more generally”.

The move goes against advice issued last week by the national body for universities, UUK, who said it does “not support the application of blanket academic boycotts that prevent academics collaborating with other academics as a means of protest against the actions of their governments”.

However, Durham has stopped short of severing ties in all areas with Russian institutions, students studying Russian have been told they will likely have to go to Riga, Tallinn, Tbilisi or Olomouc, in the Czech Republic, next year instead.

The UK Science Minister George Freeman has ordered a “rapid review” of all Russian beneficiaries of UK science and technology funding. 

“We continue to have a great respect for the Russian people and are appreciative of the many contributions made by Russian colleagues”

Durham University

Several universities have announced completing cutting ties with Russia, including St Andrews, Aberdeen and Dundee, while Warwick is reviewing links with a view to “terminating contracts where possible”.

Durham has also confirmed that all students on their year abroad in Russia and Ukraine had returned to the UK, after the University advised all students to leave last week

The decision of some Universities to limit or cut ties with Russian universities has been met with anger from some Russian academics. Talking to the Diverse Bulletin, one Russian scientist said “I’m so disguised with rejection letters, invitation cancellations, grant withdrawals against Russian scholars from Western academics who fight Putinism by attacking those who have suffered from it for decades.”

4,000 academics, students and graduates of the Moscow State University signed a letter condemning the “war that our country unleashed in Ukraine”, while 15,00 academics singing an open letter condemning the war.

In a statement, Durham University said: “We continue to have a great respect for the Russian people and are appreciative of the many contributions made by Russian colleagues and students with whom we have worked.”

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