The war has disrupted university education in Ukraine by forcing students and teachers to leave their homes and destroying infrastructure. The life sciences programs were the most affected due to their needing for expensive equipment, modern infrastructure, and teachers.
To support Ukrainian students, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has provided a grant to a team of teachers and scientists from Ukraine and Germany to conduct the online courses for students of biological specialties. The head of the project is Professor Olga Garashchuk, Director of the Institute of Physiology of the University of Tübingen (Germany). Co-head is Professor Volodymyr Lushchak, Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University (Ukraine).
This project offers interuniversity online courses "Life Sciences" and "Bioinformatics" and will help Ukrainian universities to:
- create joint virtual courses, thus compensating for the temporary shortage of highly qualified personnel in some universities;
- allow students of Ukrainian universities who are in the war zone or in the temporarily occupied territory to continue/complete their studies;
- provide a holistic picture and understanding of the relationships between biological disciplines, including modern aspects of biochemistry, biophysics, physiology, and molecular biology, thus teaching students to think holistically across multiple disciplines;
- fill the gap in students' knowledge, especially about advanced concepts and research methods in modern life sciences;
- stimulate the academic mobility of students from various Ukrainian universities;
- strengthen cooperation between specialists in the field of life sciences from different universities in Ukraine and the EU.
This project meets the European public demand for the training of qualified specialists in biological sciences in the future, providing students with multidisciplinary state-of-the-art theoretical and practical training in various branches of life sciences, knowledge of bioinformatics, and helping students to create an international community of like-minded people. Currently, such courses are rarely found in Ukraine, but they are in great demand both for integration into the European educational/research space and for the reconstruction of post-war Ukraine. By helping students from the occupied territories to improve their education, and the best to get practical training in Germany, as well as by preserving and improving the academic skills of Ukrainian teachers, this project will help preserve and develop Ukraine's innovative potential, which is necessary for the post-war recovery of the country and the entire European continent.
The courses will be held for students of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University (PNU) in Ivano-Frankivsk (the main partner of the project), as well as universities located in Kherson (currently occupied by the Russian Federation), Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro and for all the students from various cities affected by the war The project provides for the possibility of receiving a scholarship for students. Students can register for both courses, but the scholarship will be paid for only one (if the criteria are met).
Ukrainian partner universities recognize these courses as part of their current curricula. At the moment, confirmation letters on the approval of course credits for students of biological specialties have been received from five universities: Kherson State University, Odesa Mechnikov National University, Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University, and Karazin Kharkiv National University.
Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF)