Scholars at risk - support refugee researchers

Karolinska Institutet has, just like the rest of the world, followed the recent and dangerous developments in Afghanistan. The humanitarian situation there is serious, and it forces researchers and academics to discontinue their research and also in many cases to flee for their lives. The situation in Afghanistan is especially dire, not least for well-educated women. As one of the world's foremost medical universities, KI feels a responsibility and an obligation to stand up for academic freedom.

Female researcher with microscope.
Foto: Gettyimages

Help protect academic freedom

For over seventy years, freedom of expression has been considered a fundamental human right under the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Despite this, people in many parts of the world are threatened and harassed, and violations of the UN declaration occur daily. Researchers and academics are often personally threatened because of their work, and many are forced to interrupt research and studies. Some even must flee for their lives. A world where researchers are silent because they are persecuted or threatened is not a world that will develop positively. On the contrary, an attack on academic freedom is tantamount to undermining democracy and freedom of expression.

As one of the world's foremost medical universities and as the home of the Nobel Assembly for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Karolinska Institutet is well suitable to receive a refugee researcher. KI has long been a member of the international network Scholars at risk (SAR), which works to provide a refuge for threatened researchers around the world. SAR receives hundreds of inquiries yearly from vulnerable researchers in Afghanistan and other countries and the available positions are not enough. KI is now keen to find funding as soon as possible to host a SAR researcher.

In addition to the humanitarian act of offering protection and job security to a threatened individual, KI also wants to help protect academic freedom in the world. An employment at KI with the opportunities for research, new contacts and the publishing opportunities that it entails, can also help the researcher's future professional life. In addition to the benefits for the individual, KI hopes that the researcher and the university together can spread knowledge about some researchers' very vulnerable situation.

Scholars at risk

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 500 member universities in 42 countries that supports and defends the principles of academic freedom and human rights for researchers around the world. Karolinska Institutet has been a member of the network since 2016.

Help by contributing

The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating day by day and even the people who have managed to escape the country are living in uncertainty about their future. In other places around the world, too, researchers are seeking protection from regimes, wars, and persecution.

In order for KI to be able to receive a refugee researcher, urgent funding is required. If you can contribute, please contact Jenny Löhr at the Development Office or follow the links below.


You can swish your contribution to us at the number 123 202 32 08. Please write SAR in the message box.

Scholars at risk logotype
Scholars at risk. Foto: n/a

Scholars at risk

Scholars at risk has three main focuses:

Protection – SAR provides threatened researchers and academics with refuge by being offering research positions at a universities in safe country. The employment usually lasts between six months and two years. To date, SAR has assisted more than 1,200 researchers, post-docs and professorships to positions in its network of universities.

Support -  SAR identifes, documents and draws attention to attacks on academics, students and academic freedom around the world. Karolinska Institutet has many times spoken out sharply about various cases, most recently against the Iranian regime and the continued captivity of researcher Ahmadreza Djalali.

Education - SAR creates meeting opportunities between universities and students; to discuss international and regional threats to academic freedom.  Together, the members of the network aim to strengthen the rights of threatened universities.

In Sweden, 21 universities and colleges are members of SAR.