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What we do

Cara (the Council for At-Risk Academics) provides urgently-needed help to academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile, and many who choose to work on in their home countries despite serious risks. Cara also supports higher education institutions whose work is at risk or compromised.

All around the world, people start their academic careers with high hopes of learning, and of using their new knowledge to help others. For some, however, those dreams turn to nightmares, because of persecution, violence and conflict. Every year, Cara receives hundreds of requests for help from desperate academics, in immediate danger of arrest, injury or even death. They urgently need to be rescued.

In partnership with universities and research institutes, learned societies and other like-minded organisations, as well as many academics and other individuals, Cara offers them practical and financial help, and assistance to reach a place where they can continue their work in safety. Cara rescues their families too.

Some hope to return home one day. Cara’s support makes it possible for them to connect, during their period of exile, with colleagues within the wider academic and scientific communities, facilitating collaboration, enhancing skills and ending isolation, so that, when the moment comes, they are equipped to go back and help re-build their societies.

Others know that the risks will always be too great for them to go back. Cara helps them to build new lives and careers, where they can use their talents and skills for the good of all.

Cara is the leading organisation of its type based in Europe. It is unique in its focus on helping those who are still in immediate danger, rather than already in exile, and in providing 2- or 3-year award packages as standard.

Cara also runs ground-breaking programmes to help those trying to work on in their countries, despite the risks, and those forced into exile in the surrounding region.

The support of the 135 universities and research institutes that make up our UK Universities and Research Network is central to the effective delivery of Cara’s work. Cara also works with a growing number of universities abroad, in Europe and beyond.

An ‘academic’ is someone who has held a post as a lecturer and/or researcher in a higher education institution or equivalent. Cara does not distinguish between seniority, gender or discipline.