International Conflict

International Conflict

This page will be regularly updated. Last updated: 10 April 2024

As a truly international University our thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible conflict in the Middle East. Some of our students and staff will be directly impacted and this is a time for mutual care and compassion for all within our community.  We encourage anyone in need of help to make use of our support services.  

University student and staff support services

When the conflict began, we wrote to students with connections to the region advising of the help and advice available to all our community: 

  • The University Counselling Service is available for students and staff and can offer one-to-one support for anyone in our community who is currently in the UK. Email for an appointment on counselling@abdn.ac.uk. For students and staff not in the UK, the team can also help advise on support available locally and virtually. 
  • The 24/7 Student Helpline can provide one-to-one counselling for students anywhere in the world. In the UK students can call the freephone number 0808 196 2707. Students living overseas should ring 0035315170277 
  • Our Multi-Faith Chaplaincy is available to all students and staff and is a place of pastoral support and you don’t need to have a faith to get in touch. The Chaplaincy team can be reached by emailing chaplaincy@abdn.ac.uk.  
  • Students with concerns over their studies should speak to staff in their School, can also email student.support@abdn.ac.uk and can access our wide range of student support and information services  
  • Staff can call the Employee Assistance Programme. The EAP is provided by Care First and staff can contact them about work related or personal issues as well as information, such as legal or financial advice. CareFirst is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted on the freephone number 0808 168 2143. 
  • Our Human Resources team is also on hand to support staff and you can contact your area’s HR advisor or partner using the details on the website

Dealing with harassment

  • The University will not tolerate harassment or discrimination at any time. Our campus should be a safe space for all. With a global community and at a time of high tension, we must be particularly mindful and respectful of each other 

  • Our online reporting tool enables anyone who has experienced any form of harassment to report the incident to the University. Staff, students and visitors to our campus can all use the tool, which can be used anonymously if preferred - you can submit a report or find out about external reporting agencies on this link.

Travel advice 

Information for researchers

  • If you have concerns about the impact of the conflict on your research you should talk to your superviser/ line manager.

Previous messages to the community

At-Risk & Displaced Persons Scheme

1. Background

Higher education institutions in the UK have a long tradition of providing a ‘safe haven’ for scholars who find themselves at risk in their home country and are forced to flee from conflict and persecution. At the University of Aberdeen, we are committed to supporting these individuals as demonstrated by our Inclusive theme within our Aberdeen 2040 Strategy and our commitment to becoming a University of Sanctuary.

The At-Risk & Displaced Persons Scheme seeks to help students and scholars caught up in conflict across the world.

The Scheme comprises 5 ‘pillars’:

  • At-Risk (Postgraduate Student) Fellowship Scheme;
  • Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) Staff Fellowship Scheme ;
  • Undergraduate Scholarship for At-Risk & Displaced Students;
  • The George and Lilian Adam Smith Scholarship (Postgraduate Taught Students); and
  • Student Hardship Fund for At-Risk & Displaced Students
2. At-Risk (Postgraduate Student) Fellowship Scheme

The University has committed to supporting at least one At-Risk (Postgraduate Student) Fellow per year on a rolling basis. If the Fellow is a Masters student, their successor will be identified the following year; if the Fellow is a PhD student, the next beneficiary will be selected at the end of the 3-year period of study.

Appointment Process

When a Fellowship becomes available, a communication is issued to relevant organisations (currently Council for At-Risk Academics, the British Academy and the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund – IIE-SRF) to announce that nominations are sought from potential Masters and PhD scholars who are at risk and outline the support that will be offered under the At-Risk (Postgraduate Student) Fellowship Scheme.

Nominations are considered in the order in which they are received and formal admission/entry to the University is conditional on the successful completion of a full application process.

Appointment Criteria

The At-Risk (Postgraduate Student) Fellow will be required to meet all of the following appointment criteria:

  • Able to provide documentary evidence of being at-risk:
    • those overseas must be eligible to apply for a visa to study in the UK;
    • those already in the UK must be eligible to study in the UK under their current immigration status (currently determined as holding one of the following: (i) Refugee Status or Humanitarian Protection/Settlement Protection, (ii) Discretionary Leave, or (iii) Claim to Asylum);
  • Seeking to study at Masters or PhD level (and do not already hold (i) a qualification at the level applied for, and/or (ii) an MBA); and
  • Is applying to an eligible Masters programme or PhD programme with a proposed research project which is acceptable and can be accommodated at Aberdeen.

The Fellowship

The At-Risk (Postgraduate Student) Fellow will receive:

  • the equivalent of a PhD stipend towards living costs,
  • travel costs to cover a single trip to Aberdeen and a single trip to the Fellow’s next destination at the end of the period of study, and
  • visa costs (including NHS Immigration Health Surcharge).

These funds are intended to only support the At-Risk Fellow - they will not cover the costs of any family members/dependants.

If required for the project, the Fellow will also receive the standard ‘bench fee’ contribution i.e. up to a maximum of £10K (for a 3-year PhD programme, if an extension to study is required and approved the contribution would be up to £15K for a 4-year programme).

The At-Risk (Postgraduate Student) Fellow will be provided with appropriate information, guidance and assistance to help them settle into their new life in Aberdeen.

3. Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) Staff Fellowship Scheme

3.1 The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)

The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) was founded in 1933 to help academics at immediate risk around the world to escape to a place of safety where they can continue their work. Within the UK, this support is enacted via the CARA Fellowship programme which is supported by the 131 universities and research institutions (including the University of Aberdeen) who are members of the CARA UK Universities & Research Network.

CARA has a unique focus in that it helps individuals who are in immediate danger, rather than those who are already in exile. Most CARA Fellows will aim to return home when it is safe for them to do so, but the programme is designed to provide them with support in the interim period to maintain and develop their skills and to build their academic networks.

Some Early Career Fellows will enter the programme seeking postgraduate qualifications (Masters or PhD level) to continue their career, others already hold such qualifications and seek a postdoctoral placement to carry out research (possibly with the goal of moving later into a full-time teaching/research post).

3.2 The CARA Staff Fellowship

The University supports at least one Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) Fellow per year on a rolling basis. The Fellow is appointed in line with UKVI immigration/visa eligibility criteria and supported for a maximum period of 2 years.

Appointment Process

When a Fellowship becomes available, the University will work with CARA to match individuals being supported by CARA to an appropriate host School within the University under the CARA Fellowship Scheme.

Appointment Criteria

The CARA Fellow will be required to meet all of the following appointment criteria:

  • At risk;
  • Meets CARA eligibility criteria as determined by the relevant CARA due diligence processes;
  • Meets the UKVI eligibility criteria for the award of a visa to work in the UK;
  • An opportunity exists for the Fellow to make a meaningful contribution to the host School;
  • Meets the essential skills, experience and qualifications expected of a member of staff in the position.

The Fellowship

The CARA Fellow will be employed by CARA and awarded Honorary Status by the University of Aberdeen as host institution.

The CARA Fellow will receive a financial award (level determined by CARA in accordance with CARA processes) which will include:

  • An allowance specified by CARA to cover living costs for the Fellow (and any family members included in the Fellowship application process);
  • Travel costs (a single return trip to cover travel costs at the beginning and end of the appointment);
  • Visa application costs (i.e. Certificate of Sponsorship Fee and Temporary Worker Application Fee); and
  • Immigration Health Surcharge.

The CARA Fellow will receive mentoring support from within the host School and will be provided with appropriate information, guidance and assistance to help them settle into their new life in Aberdeen.

4. Scholarships for At-Risk & Displaced Students

4.1 Undergraduate At-Risk Scholarship

The Undergraduate At-Risk Scholarship is designed to support undergraduate offer holders who are seeking sanctuary in the UK. The Scholar will receive a contribution towards tuition fees (up to £25K), free single occupancy accommodation and a stipend.

When the scholarship becomes available, eligible offer holders are identified and contacted directly by the University and invited to submit an application.

4.2 The George and Lilian Adam Smith Scholarship (PGT)

The George and Lilian Adam Smith Scholarship is designed to support postgraduate taught offer holders who are seeking sanctuary in the UK. The Scholar will receive a contribution towards tuition fees (up to £25K), free single occupancy accommodation and a stipend.

When the scholarship becomes available, eligible offer holders are identified and contacted directly by the University and invited to submit an application.

5. Student Hardship Fund for At-Risk & Displaced Students

The Student Hardship Fund for At-Risk & Displaced Students provides emergency financial support for undergraduate and postgraduate students when required.

Students experiencing financial difficulties due to unforeseen or unexpected circumstances can make an application for emergency hardship funds via the Student Support and Advice Office.