University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has partnered with the Ukrainian State University of Railway Transport (USURT) to provide a range of support for students and staff.

It comes as part of a national twinning scheme led by Universities UK / Universities Scotland and supported by Cormack Consultancy Group and Research England, to help Ukrainian universities and researchers. The scheme supports UK and Ukrainian universities to share resources in a gesture of solidarity, for the benefit of Ukrainian institutions, colleagues and students.

In the early stages of the twinning arrangements, UWS will provide resources to help supply power to the USURT campus during outages via generators, mini power banks for students, and USB lighting. As well as physical aid, UWS is exploring three research collaborations with USURT, and developing English language support for staff and students through UWS’s School of Education and Social Sciences.

Marcus Ross, Vice-Principal of Planning and Recruitment at UWS, said: “We are an international university, working to address global challenges. This is an important example of our fundamental commitment to being a good global citizen and a civic university, and, as set out in its Strategy 2025, having a positive impact on our communities locally, nationally and internationally.”

USURT is located in Kharkiv – within a minute’s missile strike from the Russian border. USURT and its campus has already been damaged by missiles during the crisis.

Marcus Ross added: “The situation in Kharkiv is extreme and one that can change rapidly. Through this partnership and twinning scheme, UWS will dynamically support USURT through the provision of various items of hardware to enable students and staff to continue vital learning and teaching activities, as well as providing support to colleagues and students in Ukraine, and – importantly – to develop longer-term approaches to help USURT through the conflict.

“Global citizenship, collaboration and partnership working to make a positive impact is part of the fabric of University of the West of Scotland. We are absolutely committed to tackling worldwide societal challenges; stand in solidarity with Ukraine; and are pleased to be supporting USURT through this initiative.”

It is hoped the twinning scheme will enable UK universities to build long-term strategic partnerships with their institutions in Ukraine that support research and innovation priorities, and support Ukraine’s university-based research and innovation ecosystem beyond the current crisis.

There is a dedicated campaign by Universities UK, #TwinForHope, which has been communicating the impact of the twinning initiatives and partnerships. The campaign aims to engage more universities – from the UK and beyond – to join the scheme and attract more investment for the initiative, to continue to deliver impact.

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By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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