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New fellowship to support scholars in war-torn Ukraine

A destroyed car in the courtyard of the economics department at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in central Kharkiv on Aug. 8, 2022. The Ukrainian city, 50 kilometers from the Russian border, has endured attacks since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24. (Photo by Richard Wright / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

A new academic fellowship program funded by UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the Department of Economics will help Ukrainian scholars persevere with their work through the hardships of the war.

Scholars located in Ukraine and affiliated with a university, college, or research institute can apply for $5,000 grants to continue with their research and teaching. The $140,000 fund, granted equally by Berkeley Haas and Berkeley Economics, will help sustain up to 28 Ukrainian academics.

“This is going to be a tough year for many Ukrainian scholars in terms of security, housing, and budgets. Many have lost their homes, offices, labs, and classrooms,” said Yuriy Gorodnichenko, the Quantedge Presidential Professor of Economics and a member of the fellowship committee. “This fellowship not only gives people the means to survive and to have some time to do research, but also serves as an important sign of solidarity against Russian aggression.”

“The barbarism of Russia’s war aims to destroy Ukraine’s people, institutions, and civil society,” added Anastassia Fedyk, an assistant professor of finance at Berkeley Haas, who is also on the fund committee. “Bolstering Ukraine’s education system at this critical time will help increase Ukraine’s resilience.”

“The barbarism of Russia’s war aims to destroy Ukraine’s people, institutions, and civil society. Bolstering Ukraine’s education system at this critical time will help increase Ukraine’s resilience.” —Assistant Professor Anastassia Fedyk

Since Russia’s invasion of the country last February, Fedyk, Gorodnichenko, and other economists with close ties to the region have been using their expertise support Ukraine—giving media interviews, writing op-eds, raising funds, and joining with others in the U.S. and globally to form the group Economists for Ukraine. The group has now partnered with Universities for Ukraine, raising funds from several universities for fellowships and providing a central clearinghouse for nonresidential fellowship programs.

“We are very pleased to join with Berkeley Economics to support this effort to preserve academic scholarship in Ukraine during this extremely difficult period,” said Berkeley Haas Dean Ann Harrison.

Many Ukrainian academics are unable or unwilling to leave the country—including all men between 18 and 60, who are prohibited from leaving. Yet many find themselves displaced and underfunded, without the means to continue with their work. The fellowship program aims to bridge some of the gap to keep scholarship moving forward and to minimize brain drain, preserving some capacity to rebuild the country, Gorodnichenko said.

In addition to Gorodnichenko and Fedyk, the UC Berkeley Ukrainian fellowship committee includes Berkeley Haas Associate Professor Dmitry Livdan and Berkeley Economics Assistant Professor Vira Semenova.

Scholars may apply for fellowships via Universities for Ukraine in English (preferred) or Ukrainian. Questions may be addressed to Gorodnichenko [email protected].

Professor Ulrike Malmendier to serve as a top economic advisor to Germany

Professor Ulrike Malmendier (© 2015, Edward Caldwell, All Rights Reserved)

Professor Ulrike Malmendier was appointed today to the German Council of Economic Experts, which serves as the country’s top government advisory board on economic policy.

Malmendier, the Edward J. and Mollie Arnold Professor of Finance at the Haas School and a professor in U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Economics, is a pioneer in the field of behavioral economics and finance and among the most-cited economists in the world.

Malmendier said she is excited to contribute to economic policy-making in Germany. “I hope my expertise and international perspective will be helpful,” she wrote in a tweet of the appointment, which runs through 2026.

In an interview with the German business publication Handelsblatt, Malmendier also said she aims to bring an international perspective and also to speed up the work of the five-member council, which issues a lengthy annual report. She said the council should weigh in more frequently on current events, such as discussions on whether to impose a gas embargo on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Malmendier will also bring a behavioral economics perspective to the council. Her research focuses on the intersection of economics and finance, and how psychology and experience influence how people make economic decisions. She had researched the impact of economic shocks, such as high inflation or unemployment, on later economic behavior—for example, the long-term frugality of “Depression babies.”

Malmendier was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2017, and won the prestigious Fischer Black Prize from the American Finance Association in 2013, for the originality and creativity of her research. She was inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

Read the German Council of Economic Advisors announcement.