Since 2015, a large number of migrants (refugees and asylum- seekers) from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa have arrived in Greece and continued their onward journey to western European countries where they settled. As various European Union (EU) countries have later blocked the flow of migrants from Greece to their final destination, thousands of them have been trapped in Greece, confined in overcrowded, temporary camps (known as “hot spots”) and awaiting the processing of their asylum application. The Universities responded to the challenge of the refugee influx, especially the University of the Aegean (UAeg), which is located on the eastern Mediterranean migration route. The migrant influx did not affect the University’s operation but created the need for new services and novel curricula.
A recent survey of the qualifications of the migrants arriving on Lesvos island showed that almost 7% of them had a university degree and 1% of them a Master’s or even a PhD degree (SCIREA project findings). The SCIREA project, with the UAeg acting as coordinator, focuses on skilled refugees and helps to integrate them into European academic institutions and to improve their qualifications. Tailor-made seminars and webinars are implemented and scholarships are given to refugee scientists to restart their academic career.
The objectives of this project are:
- Screening the training needs of highly skilled scientist refugees living in the Greek islands in relation to the foreign labor market dynamics,
- Create webinars and a companion SCIREA e-book (application procedure, CV) in order to apply to a European university or to a research institute (Farsi, Arabic, English)
- Organize ‘tailor-made’ life-long learning seminars dedicated to highly skilled;
- Organize 25 months of Fellowships for experienced refugee researchers (3-12 months internship duration) for short research/training stays in its premises in various laboratories and scientific fields.
- Organize match-making events of the highly skilled refugees with the academics.
- Organize dissemination events that refugees present their progress and achievements to the academic community and to the public sector.