The Ukrainian Eurointegration Platform (UEP) will support displaced Ukrainians, focussing on women and young people, and operate as a platform to develop their expertise in a number of areas including sociology, applied linguistics, psychology, entrepreneurship, innovation, tech and smart urbanism.
It is being launched in partnership with the Ukrainian government and aims to work with British and international scholars, NGOs and professionals, as well as local authorities, to deliver the service.
However, before the project is launched next year, researchers will first assess the needs, requirements, and profiles of thousands of refugees to allow them to offer know-how based on their actual needs.
The UEP aims to build the capacity to support up to 15,000 women and young people in the first half of next year as part of the first stage of the pilot project.
Loughborough PhD researcher Viktoriia Startseva, who devised the project, said: “Since the first day of war escalation in Ukraine in February, I have been working with women refugees from Ukraine as victims of forced migration.”
"Our aim is to help highly-qualified displaced women from Ukraine to adapt and integrate into the economy of hosting countries for them not to be a financial burden to the host states, but rather contribute to the professional and qualified shortage of labour force in the UK and the EU.”
She added: “The project also provides support for displaced Ukrainians in Europe and Great Britain with the aim of professional retraining and involvement in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.”
“I believe that European integration and the retraining of displaced Ukrainians will help them to learn the best EU and UK practices in order to restore Ukrainian cities through the use of social engineering and human capital development.”
“These Ukrainians will then become a new generation of trainers - with pro-European democratic values – for people back to Ukraine.”
Since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February, it is understood that more than 12 million people have fled their homes – seven million displaced inside the country and five million leaving altogether.
Poland has the highest number of refugees, thought to be around 1.1 million, while the UK has accepted more than 150,000 people under the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Viktoriia, originally from Kyiv, in Ukraine, is a public activist and ambassador of the Bohdan Hawrylyshyn Family Foundation to the UK – a youth employment charity based in Ukraine.
She is also a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women's Network Ukraine and is currently a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Governance, at Loughborough University London, specialising in gender policy and international First Ladies diplomacy of EU-G7 countries, and Ukraine.
The UEP project is aligned with recent initiatives by Loughborough University, such as the partnerships with the Kharkiv and Odessa universities – see here.