On Wednesday, Minister of Education Anna Ekström announced at a press briefing that Swedish universities must immediately cease their education and research collaborations with government agencies in Russia and Belarus.
Umeå University currently has nearly 30 exchange agreements with universities in Russia, but none with universities in Belarus. The University has previously decided not to send exchange students within these agreements, due to the security situation in the region and the advice against travel to these countries issued by the the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The current urge from the Government further adds that research collaborations conducted jointly with government-run higher education institutions in Russia and Belarus, or those funded fully or partially by either of those two countries, must cease. No new such agreements may be initiated either.
Check the collaborations
The University Management at Umeå University urges all faculties and departments to go through and check their research collaborations.
"Researchers, universities and science form the pillar of a democratic society. Although, this extreme situation that Europe is facing means that we must be particularly aware of all dimensions a collaboration may contain," says Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson.
The Minister of Education emphasised that many education or research collaborations include individual contacts between researchers in Sweden and Russia or Belarus. Many researchers in Russia and Belarus are also openly criticising the actions of the Russian Federation, and by doing so risking their lives.
"It's important that individual Russian and Belarusian researchers are not automatically equated with government agencies," said Anna Ekström at the press briefing.
During the press briefing on 2 March 2022 with the Minister of Education, Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson participated in his role as vice chair of the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF). Approximately 11:00 minutes into the broadcast, the Minister makes an address to researchers in English. See the press briefing on the Government's website.