The OeAW seeks to support people who have been forced to flee their countries and possess academic or related qualifications in their integration into the Austrian research landscape. In spring and summer 2016 people with the right to asylum can thus undertake internships specially designed for them at the Academy’s research institutes.

The Syrian architect Lynn Karkouki completed an internship at the OeAW’s OeAI. © Niki Gail/OeAI/OeAW

From archaeology to molecular biology: in the spring and summer of 2016 the OeAW offered one- to three-month internships for people with the right to asylum, each amounting to up to 20 hours a week, at several of its research institutes, such as the Austrian Archaeological Institute, the Vienna Institute of Demography, the Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology or the Institute of High Energy Physics. Activities included support in conducting sociological surveys, collaboration in laboratories or assisting with scientific experiments. The aim of the internships was to enable the refugees to pick up their scientific career or to gain insights into new fields of research.

A total of 19 people, mostly from Syria, were temporarily employed and successfully completed their internships at the OeAW within the framework of the initiative “Refugee Support, Refugee Research”, thereby opening up initial perspectives for their professional future in Austria.

More on their stories as refugees, their internships at the OeAW and their hopes for their future lives can be learnt from two internees, Lynn Karkouki of the OeAW Austrian Institute of Archaeology and Ismail Yasin of the OeAW Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities, who recently appeared on science.orf:

Lynn Kakrouki: “Now we have nothing to show our children”

Ismail Yasin: “Optimism is the only solution”