Solidarité avec les réfugiés 

Help the ULB finance fellowships for refugee researchers!

Project visual Solidarité avec les réfugiés 
End date
Out of €40,000
108 %

Solidarité avec les réfugiés 

The wave of refugees coming from the Middle East requires that all European institutions, especially universities, make a special effort to offer a welcome worthy of the ethical values that the countries of the European Union claim to protect. The welcome should also be in keeping with the protection of the humanistic values that are dear to the Université Libre de Bruxelles.


The ULB is taking action in its areas of expertise – research and teaching – by developing solidarity campaigns aimed at the refugees who are arriving in Belgium. The research fellowships creation project that it is introducing is part of a medium-term plan and aims to prepare selected researchers to one day return to their own country to help their fellow citizens, armed with new knowledge and additional academic and professional experience.




The ULB offers 10 post-doctoral fellowships, renewable for one year, designed exclusively for refugees so that they may continue their research in Brussels, in a safe environment and surrounded by their peers.


One fellowship costs 40,000 euros per year, which is equal to an investment of 800,000 euros for 10 fellowships for two years. The ULB has already freed up 520,000 euros of its own funds and launched a large-scale appeal for donations to finance the rest, notably via the KKBB platform.



The Kiss Kiss Bank Bank campaign aims to generate 40,000 euros, which is the equivalent of one research fellowship for one year. Donations of over €40 are tax deductible.


These fellowships will bear the name of Khaled al-Assad, the 82-year-old archaeologist executed by Daesh for having participated in international scientific colloquiums and collaborated with foreign colleagues. His memory is a tragic and symbolic reminder of the value of international academic solidarity.


The ULB is associated with Scholars at Risk, an international platform for the protection and promotion of Human Rights within universities and, in particular, the freedom of education.


How are the potential candidates recruited?

The ULB has launched a call for applications in French and in English which has been sent and relayed to a number of key players (associations, platforms, professors, PhD students, etc.) in the university aid for refugees’ sector, notably the "Scholars at Risk" association.


The candidates, having obtained refugee status in an EU country, must not have been resident or carried out their main activity in Belgium for more than 24 months over the 3 years immediately preceding the recruitment process. An application file must be received by email before 15 February 2016 at the latest. View the call for applications.


What is a research fellowship?

A fellowship is an entity supported financially by a specific fund, public or private, that contains the necessary means to pay the named holder a salary and provide for the research and training activities of a promising scientist.

A research fellowhip guarantees the holder a large amount of autonomous control over the way in which their research programme is conducted. This programme is both rich and original, centred around the advancement of knowledge with a medium to long term outlook, rather than the resolution of specific problems in the short term.


In this way, the scientific fellowship offers a special place for training and research integration for students, especially at graduate level, and it demonstrates potential increased attraction for these students, as well as for researchers interested in this issue. It is distinguished as being a meeting point for additional expertise and a place of scientific synergy.

[Université de Sherbrooke - Policy on research fellowships at the ETS -]


What's on the researchers agenda?

Well, the researchers are researching :-).

In a lab, during missions abroad, in libraries, by communicating with their peers and students, they perform experiments and make progress in their discipline.

They verify hypotheses, develop and organise theoretical interpretations of experiments and analyses. They provide reports on their work and discoveries using various distribution methods: publications, conferences, etc.

Sometimes, performing experiments requires the handing of dangerous products and equipment. Researchers keep irregular hours and may travel regularly (conferences, seminars, etc.). []


Raising 40,000 euro would be a most satisfying primary objective, but if the ULB can exceed this target, the University would be able to open other welcome fellowships or extend the actions and projects currently in progress or being studied (language courses and more general courses - law, political sciences, economics, research grant financing, etc.)


Allocation of funds

In concrete terms, the money collected will provide the researcher's salary for one year.

This total will therefore contribute to ensuring a postdoctoral refugee can continue her or his research in Brussels and, as a result, also provide for her or his family's needs.

In addition to material and professional help, it is a strong symbol of solidarity and humanity that the ULB would like to send to the whole academic community.


Why welcome refugees? Ever since its creation in 1834, the ULB has continued to be a welcoming university. After the Second World War, the ULB provided support to students and professors fleeing the Spanish, Greek and Chilean dictatorships. In 2015, the entire university community (students, administrative and academic staff) have come together in support of the refugees from the Middle East.

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