The PAUSE program (National program for the urgent aid and reception of scientists in exile), established on January 16, 2017, awards stimulus funding to higher education establishments and public research organizations who plan to host scientists at risk, and supports their activities.
In many parts of the world, scientists and academics face numerous challenges and restrictions. Freedom of science is under pressure. We have seen examples of curtailed freedom of research, employment bans for scientists and cases where researchers and scientists have been forced to leave their homes, work, and countries of origin. Over the past years, many at-risk researchers have moved to other countries, where they have been able to work and live or have found temporary shelter.
These countries include France and Germany. Our two European nations strongly believe in the importance of upholding academic freedom and freedom of speech. Germany and France have established programmes with the goal of supporting at-risk academics: the Philipp Schwartz Initiative (PSI) and the Programme national d’aide à l’Accueil en Urgence de Scientifiques en Exil (PAUSE). Both programmes have links with prestigious organisations in the field of scholarly endeavours: the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany; and the Collège de France.
Together with our partners and supporters on both sides of the Atlantic, we think it is important to expand efforts to uphold academic freedom in a world with shrinking spaces for civil society. To this end, we commit to sharing the experiences gathered through our programmes PSI and PAUSE with other scientific and funding organisations. Indeed, academic freedom is the prerequisite for open and free societies worldwide. We call upon the European Union to further support these endeavours.
Geopolitical crises are proliferating worldwide, impacting the academic freedom of many researchers, and sometimes placing their lives and the lives of their families in danger. This situation calls for a strong response from open, democratic societies. France, unlike other major democracies (the United States, United Kingdom and Germany) previously had no mechanism in place to provide assistance to scientists under threat.
The PAUSE program, which was announced in October 2016 by the French Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research at the seminar “Migrations, Refugees, Exile” at Collège de France, is an ambitious national project initiated by the French state with support from civil society and economic stakeholders. Its mission is to facilitate the hosting of scientists from crisis zones for sufficiently long periods to enable them to integrate and to ensure continuity in their research. PAUSE is supported by a prestigious and committed Patronage Committee co-chaired by Alain Prochiantz, Director of Collège de France, and Edith Heard, a Professor at Collège de France.
Officially launched on January 16, 2017 by an agreement between the Ministry for Education and Research, Collège de France and The Chancellery of Parisian Universities, the national PAUSE program brings together major institutions from the higher education and research community (CPU, CDEFI, CNRS, INSERM, INRA, INRIA, CNOUS, AUF), the French Interior Ministry, the Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture.
After an evaluation process, the program provides stimulus funding to French higher education establishments and research organizations who commit to the recruitment of scientists at risk and to support their professional and personal integration.
Looking beyond our ethical duty to respond to often very serious individual circumstances, solidarity with scientists from abroad in crisis situations provides a major intellectual resource which is of benefit to the academic and scientific research community and to society as a whole.
The PAUSE program aims to expand with the help of a number of private and public partnerships. In order to facilitate this, a subscription fund for the program has been set up at the Fondation de France.