Scholars at Risk activities at Aalto University

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is a global network promoting academic freedom and protecting scholars at risk. Aalto University is a member in the Finnish universities’ SAR network.
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Scholars at Risk (SAR) is a global network of institutions and individuals whose mission is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom. Currently there are more than 600 higher education institutions worldwide involved in a range of SAR activities. The activities are an aspect of universities’ commitment to global social responsibility.

Scholars at Risk Network logo

Scholars at Risk (SAR)

  • promotes academic freedom and improves respect for university values everywhere
  • arranges temporary academic positions for scholars facing grave threats in their own home countries
  • campaigns for imprisoned or silenced scholars, monitors attacks on higher education communities
  • offers advisory services.

SAR international (

Scholars at risk logo

Scholars at Risk Finland network

SAR Finland, the Finnish section of the international Scholars at Risk network, was launched in 2017. SAR sections are a means of engaging national institutions in the global effort in support of academic freedom and higher education values. Aalto University is a founding member of SAR Finland. Since the launch, Finnish universities have hosted threatened scholars, either by investing their own or separately applied funding. SAR Finland activities in Finland are supported by its umbrella organization, Universities Finland (UNIFI). All Finnish universities are members in the network and the rotating chair in 2022-2023 is University of Helsinki. 

The Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF)

The US-based Institute of International Education (IIE) launched a Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) in 2002. The global fund arranges, funds, and supports fellowships for threatened and displaced scholars at partnering higher education institutions. In Finland, IIE-SRF collaborates with the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) and the universities to provide threatened scholars safe environments to continue their work. Aalto University is a member in the IIE-SRF network.  

The Institute of International Education's Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) (

EDUFI: Partnership with IIE-Scholar Rescue Fund (

Interested in learning more?

SAR international has produced a free online course, “Dangerous questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters”, which explores the meaning of academic freedom and how it relates to core higher education and societal values. The course is designed for staff and students in higher education.

SAR international also publishes Free to Think, an annual report by Scholars at Risk’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. The report explores concerning trends in attacks on higher education communities around the world.

Scholars who are in need of protection

Scholars who are in need of protection should submit an application directly to

the SAR network


the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund

Interested in hosting a scholar?

To learn more about hosting a scholar, please contact Aalto SAR contact person (contact details below). You are also encouraged to visit the SAR international website information on hosting a scholar.

Aalto SAR contact

Mervi Rantanen

Mervi Rantanen

Senior Advisor, Global Engagement
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