Overwhelming interest in GURN Call to support independent research in Ukraine: Meet our winners

As part of the GURN project, the Institut für Europäische Politik (Berlin) and its partner organ­i­sation Ilko Kucheriv Democ­ratic Initia­tives Foundation (Kyiv) developed a call for research project proposals targeted at Ukrainian think tanks. Against the background of insuf­fi­cient Ukrainian state funding for independent research, the project activity aims at enabling researchers to develop and implement innov­ative ideas. The possi­bility to conduct independent research is an important element in the course of strength­ening civil society actors, in particular think tanks, as insti­tu­tions. The most convincing submis­sions will receive up to 5,000 EUR to finance the research process and publish the results by the end of 2020.

40 themat­i­cally diverse applications

The fact that there is a need for inter­na­tional calls of this kind in Ukraine can be easily under­stood by taking a look at the number of proposals submitted: The GURN project team received almost 40 appli­ca­tions. Some of the appli­ca­tions were submitted by renowned Ukrainian organ­i­sa­tions — not only from Kyiv, but also from various regions of the country. Several research projects focused on the sustain­ability of the decen­tral­i­sation reform or on the impact of reforms in the areas of social security, education and infra­structure in rural areas. Another thematic focus was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional economic growth, labour migration, civil society and digital­i­sation, as well as public trust in government policy. The upcoming local elections also served as a starting point for different research designs, for example in connection with populism or environ­mental policy. Topics in the context of German-Ukrainian relations mainly focused on the energy sector and the German foreign policy in relation to the annex­ation of the Crimean peninsula.

We would like to thank all appli­cants for their interest and the numerous submis­sions to the project call! The selection of topics surprised and inspired us and has also given us valuable insights into the current scien­tific discourse in Ukraine. In the end, however, three appli­ca­tions convinced us most – with their principal idea, their outstanding academic level and their high-quality research design.

Access to Ukrainian univer­sities for school graduates from the occupied territories

The first research project that will be finan­cially supported by GURN is dedicated to the question of how efficient the political measures are that aim to support high school graduates from Crimea and the temporarily occupied terri­tories in the Donezk and Luhansk oblasts with the admission to a Ukrainian university and what special risks they are exposed to, especially in times of COVID-19. The research proposal was submitted by the analytical platform VoxUkraine. VoxUkraine is an independent platform that publishes impartial assess­ments of political and economic devel­op­ments in Ukraine based on scien­tific methods.

The conse­quences of COVID-19 for the integrity of Ukrainian local elections

The second project idea that fully convinced our team was submitted by the Lviv-based analytical center “CIFRA”. The core compe­tence of the organ­i­sation lies in election monitoring and the research of social and political processes. With regard to the upcoming local elections in Ukraine, they will examine the influence of COVID-19 on the integrity of the electoral process and here, especially on the mobil­i­sation of the district electoral commissions.

Sustainable economy for Ukraine: Best practices from Germany

The third research project that will be supported by GURN is based on an idea developed by the Centre for Economic Strategy (CES) which focuses on the research of the country’s economic processes. CES will analyse how to optimise the link between macro­eco­nomic forecasts for the Ukrainian economy and the compi­lation of the state budget by taking inter­na­tional practices into account, especially German budgeting mechanisms.

We wish all three selected organ­i­sa­tions the best of success with the imple­men­tation of their research projects and are looking forward to the results!

GURN aims at estab­lishing a German-Ukrainian research network for junior and senior researchers and their organ­i­sa­tions, strength­ening country expertise and promoting joint cooper­ation projects. GURN is conducted in close cooper­ation with the Ilko Kucheriv Democ­ratic Initia­tives Foundation (DIF, Kyiv), the think tank devel­opment and research initiative think twice UA (Kyiv), the New Europe Center (NEC, Kyiv) and is kindly supported by the Federal Foreign Office.