The Université libre de Bruxelles has created a Solidarity Funds in order to provide support for researchers who no longer have the freedom to pursue their research in their home country, where they are threatened due to the content of their scientific work or to the opinions they have freely expressed.

The Khaled al-Asaad Solidarity Funds provides postdoctoral fellowships enabling threatened academics to continue their work at ULB in a climate of academic freedom.

The solidarity fellowship consists in a one-year (12 months) postdoctoral position, amounting to 53,000 euros gross (approximately 35,460 euros net), plus a discretionary relocation allowance of 2,500 euros net (payable to researchers resident in another country, after their move to Belgium).

The recipients will carry out research in a ULB research centre, supervised by a member of the University’s academic staff. They may, if they so wish, take part in teaching activities or any other scientific activities organised on campus.

Application to the Khaled al-Asaad Solidarity Funds

Origin, structure and objectives of the Khaled al-Asaad Solidarity Funds

The influx of refugees following the Syrian crisis has led higher education institutions to reflect on emergency measures to be put in place to integrate a certain number of them into their midst.
In 2016, ULB mobilized significant resources to grant ten postdoctoral scholarships (1 year) to mainly Syrian refugees as well as to set up a specialized Welcome Desk to help register refugees wishing to pursue studies at the university.

The deterioration of the situation in Turkey, where more than 2,500 university professors have lost their jobs since July 2016, has accelerated the reflection on the need to set up a structured mechanism to provide support to researchers who can no longer exercise their activity in complete freedom in their country of origin because they are threatened because of the content of their scientific work or opinions that they would have freely expressed.

This Khaled al-Asaad Solidarity Funds allows ULB to have a functional, structured and sustainable tool to provide the necessary support to researchers who are threatened in their country of origin. In practical terms, it is a post-doctoral grant allowing them to be hosted at ULB for a period of one month to one year and to pursue their work without any pressure and in a climate of academic freedom.

The first action of this funds was the establishment of an emergency solidarity chair for researchers threatened in Turkey.

Currently 9 researchers in danger are present at ULB and are engaged as post-doctoral students. They come from Afghanistan, China, Russia, Ethiopia, Turkey and Iran.

Updated on April 3, 2024