U.S. National Academy of Sciences creates fund for Ukrainian refugees

April 7, 2022

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is joining the humanitarian efforts to support the growing numbers of Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The academy has established a fund to support and resettle displaced Ukrainian researchers and their families.

The NAS launched the Safe Passage Fund in support of the efforts of the Polish Academy of Sciences, which has been helping Ukranian researchers and their families resettle in Poland.

In early March, the Polish academy agreed to work with the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences to place Ukrainian researchers in research institutions in Poland and supply them with six months of funding.

However, money for the agreement ran out within days.

The NAS stepped in, looking to provide funding for the growing costs of resettlement and an influx of refugees through donations from individuals and foundations in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to the academy.

“A number of other regional Academies are looking at ways to replicate the Polish program, and the NAS will work with partners to identify ways to scale up this program to truly meet the needs of our displaced Ukrainian colleagues,” said Marcia McNutt, president of the NAS.

Donations from the NAS’ fund will be used to help resettle Ukrainian refugees and their families in neighboring countries where they can be connected with research institutions that fit their expertise.

In the long term, the NAS is looking to expand the program to partner with science academies in Eastern Europe, work with universities in Israel and provide opportunities for longer-term research opportunities in the U.S. if a quick return to Ukraine is not possible.

The NAS did not provide additional comments as to the details of its Safe Passage Fund.

Ukraine is bordered by Russia to the east, Belarus from the north, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary from the west and Romania and Moldova to the south. According to Pew Research Center, over 3.7 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries in the one month since the war began, creating a refugee crisis of epic proportions.

The total number of refugees is likely much higher, with an estimated 10 million Ukrainians having left their homes as a result of the war. Border countries have reception centers set up for refugees to stay where they can receive food, medical care and information about future travel. Additionally, the E.U. has granted Ukrainians a right to stay in the E.U. and work throughout its member nations for up to three years, as reported by BBC News.

“The international science community must work together now to accommodate Ukraine’s scientists and their families until it is safe for them to return to their homes,” said McNutt.

About the Author

Andrea Corona | Andrea Corona

Andrea Corona serves as the Senior Editor of Pharma Manufacturing — a leading source of news and insights for pharma professionals — and is responsible for creation of editorial content, moderating webinars, and co-hosting the "Off script" podcast. Her editorial journey started as an as associate editor at Biocompare, an online platform providing product information, industry news, articles, and other resources to support scientists in their work. Before Biocompare, she was a digital producer at Science Friday, focusing on adapting radio segments for the web and social media management. Andrea earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and biology from the State University of New York, at Purchase College.