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BRiDGE – Bridge for Researchers in Danger Going to Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BRiDGE (BRiDGE – Bridge for Researchers in Danger Going to Europe)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-03-31

BRiDGE – Bridge for Researchers in Danger Going to Europe enhanced the support of more than 300 refugee researchers (RR) during the 24 project months, with special attention paid to early and late stage post doc researchers and professors of all ages, especially those located in Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. The case-to-case support focused on career development advisory services, training, and academic and non-academic mentoring for the RRs. The project transfered the given knowledge and experience to the EURAXESS network, the largest relevant network in Europe.
BRiDGE one: From South East Europe to its heart gave an all-in-one solution for the localized guidance of RRs in the European Research Area (ERA) and enabled its 40 EURAXESS country members in the ERA to seize the unique chance they have to identify and utilise the potential of RRs across Europe.
BRiDGE two: From displaced to integrated helped guide more than RRs in the restarting of their career, and provided instructive and motivating materials to academic and non-academic mentors, mainly in form of a handbook (vlog), including interviews of RRs and academic Mentors from Greece and Germany.
BRiDGE three: From asylum to research involved and supported more than 60 academic mentors for RRs, trained more than 100 RRs to be orientated within the ERA and use the provided resources.
BRiDGE four: From individual cases to systematic policy recommendations promoted the best practices in the EURAXESS network through trainings and activities, and forms a network and pool of experts visible on the EURAXESS Science4Refugees site. BRiDGE also stood for a strengthened quality assurance method.
BRiDGE enabled RRs in conclusion to establish relationships with potential colleagues and supervisors, to improve their own situation, skills and experience, and to estimate their professional perspectives, and therefore, tackles the core challenges for integration in a new productive environment and inclusion into the European societies.
The Project targeted the challenge to enable RRs who have been granted an asylum related residence permit in a European country to continue their research career path and enter the labour market after the gap caused by their uprooting. This project came timely, as with the introduction of new asylum and immigration laws in several European countries, such as Germany and Greece, where refugees and their spouses gained access to employment with their asylum related residence permits and thus, it was more than urgent to find solutions especially for the sudden rise in the amount of highly skilled unemployed citizens and residents, as the RRs. The situation of the conditional and therefore temporary asylum seekers in Turkey had left an even bigger question mark, where and how these refugees will have to be integrated. Therefore, all proposed measures for refugee researchers in the involved countries increased their overall employability and gave solutions for the future of the European societies.
The Project has been sucessfull so far
- supporting ca. 250 refugee researchers from Asia, Africa and South America, displaced all over Europe and the Middle East.
- involving ca. 80 mentors from all over Europe.
- involving the EURAXESS Services Network with more than 500 Service centers and EURAXESS Worldwide
- campaigning in more than 50 Networking Events and conferences all over Europe
- raising awareness, while featuring in more than 35 press Reports.

Main Results in Brief:
The BRiDGE project supported 74% male and 26% female researchers in danger. This is representative result to the general population of refugees and refugee researchers.
From Turkey and Syria equally many participants received support from the project, followed by citizens of Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. The refugee researchers in the BRiDGE project came from 23 countries mainly from the Middle East.
BRiDGE reached its goal to support mainly Ph.D.-degree holders. 62% of the beneficiaries held such a degree.
The project provided substancial evidence that mentoring networks are an essential asset for RR in order to re-enter the labour market. They need strong networking professionals and activities in order to set off.
4 videos of total length of 108:37 minutes, enriched by 4 testimonies of RR and 4 testimonies of mentors were produced and screened in several events across Europe. The screenings continue after the project life time. The videos have reached 1000 clicks on youtube and approximately 1300 viewers.
Several interactive and modular thus transferable trainings with strong peer networking character and individual consultations with academic and non-academic mentors were successfully tested in different countries.
The trainings were delivered in highest quality, including top theoreticians and practitioners across Europe.
The RR participants in tranings had representative backgrounds, in total accordance to the project total reach and aims. The participants were mainly from the Middle East.
The trainings for non-academic mentors were especially successful and recommendable for all suitable follow ups. 33 participants from the EURAXESS network tested the elaborated trainings, which accumulated the knowledge gained from the previous RR trainings and the hundreds of mentoring and consulting cases.

First results can be found on the Project Homepage, such as the training materials, the videocasts and much more. Most refugee researchers have been matched with supportive academic and non-academic mentors, and hundreds have been trained in vivo or in a Webinar.

Significant work has been done for the data protection and ethics of the Project. The new GDPR plus the ambitious transborder Project of case-to-case work on a vulnerable population has requested much more working time than planned or expected. The results have been transfered to other Projects, such as BRiDGE II and EURAXESS TOP IV and published on the Project Homepage.
More than 250 highly skilled refugee researchers located in 21 countries in Europe and the Middle East benefited directly from the project, through mentoring or training.
The project attracted highest training rates of 104 RRs and 33 non-academic mentors throughout the two project years.
224 refugee researchers shed light to their circumstances in a thorough and first of its kind survey.
High synergy and cooperation was developed in more than 50 knowledge exchange occasions with stakeholders across Europe and the Middle East.