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Earlier in May, the ACA team presented preliminary findings of a large-scale study on the needs of international researchers, lecturers and PhD students in support services combined with the analysis of the existing institutional approaches to offering personalized assistance to mobile academics in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe. This study is conducted as part of the UniWELiS project which brings together ACA and its two members from Slovakia (SAIA) and Poland (NAWA) as well as the Comenius University in Bratislava, Sofia University and the University of Nis.
In total, 640 international researchers, lecturers, and PhD students from 85 different countries responded to the online survey. In addition, the partners conducted 66 online interviews with higher education managers and support staff employed by 34 institutions in the target region.
Preliminary analysis points to the respondents’ high level of satisfaction with their research/study stay at institutions in the target region. The respondents rate support on immigration, accommodation, and social and healthcare insurance matters as most important. Such services are provided by all interviewed higher education institutions. While the degree of personalised support seems to depend on the level of professional experience / seniority of an international academic, essential support services related to immigration and administration are typically provided at the central level, whereas as ‘softer’ support (e.g. cultural integration or personal / family matters) is often provided at faculty level. Many institutions in the target region are trying to further improve such services.
The final results of the study will include a detailed analysis of motivation and satisfaction with personalized support across different groups of international academics as well as various institutional approaches to organising such support, both internally and in collaboration with external partners. The report featuring the final results is expected to be published over summer 2021. Stay tuned!