UK-Ukraine dual degrees to help post-war reconstruction

Institutions invited to host master’s programmes to address skills shortages in areas such as bridge-building

December 10, 2022
Source: iStock
Construction site in Kharkov, Ukraine

UK universities that are twinned with institutions in Ukraine have been invited to bid to build a dual degree programme that will be delivered in the country next academic year, contributing to its post-war reconstruction.

The scheme will fund five pairs of institutions to develop master’s programmes, with preference given to areas such as construction, civil engineering, land planning and computer science. “Initially we’ll be looking at subject areas which are going to be important to Ukraine as it rebuilds after the war,” Charles Cormack, whose consultancy is coordinating the funding call, told Times Higher Education, giving a lack of bridge-building experts as an example.

“The Ministry of Education and the Office for the president have been talking to all the ministries and asking them to identify skill shortage areas which we will then build into the evaluation of the bids. That’s going to give you higher points within the evaluation,” he said. 

With Ukrainian men still forbidden to leave the country and lecturing visits too unsafe, the courses must be delivered in Ukraine either via remote delivery or franchising, meaning previous experience of teaching transnationally is also important, he added.

The initiative run by Cormack Consulting Group has paired up 100 Ukrainian universities with foreign partners, mostly in the UK. All of those with a memorandum of understanding in place can apply for one of five shares of £500,000, donated by the algorithmic trading company XTX Markets. 

Funding will go to the UK partner to cover the costs of the programme and fund scholarships for students. As well as allowing Ukrainian students to earn an international degree without leaving the country, Mr Cormack said that the pilots would build up Ukrainian universities’ teaching and quality assurance capacities. 

The pilot call closes on 31 December, with entries judged by organisations in both the UK and Ukraine and winners announced in January. Programmes will start from September 2023 or January 2024. Mr Cormack said that there are plans to provide funding for more postgraduate and undergraduate dual-degree programmes, donations permitting.

The pilot comes after Research England announced £5 million to support research between UK and Ukrainian twins, such as partnership development workshops, summer schools and seed funding for collaborations.

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