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MU CEITEC Institute to help scientists hit by current immigration situation in USA

Research-group leaders are offering temporary bench or desk space, library access and accommodation.

Masaryk University’s CEITEC Institute has heeded a call by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and is offering help to scientists stranded abroad due to White House Executive Order 13769 of 27 January 2017, entitled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. Even though US courts are now examining the Order, the offer of temporary places in laboratories still holds.

The White House Executive Order, commonly referred to as a travel ban, has a significant impact on the scientific community, notably experts from abroad who work at US research institutions. Masaryk University’s CEITEC Institute has responded to the call for help made by the prestigious European institution EMBO, which runs the emergency website Science Solidarity. The site shows ways in which different leaders of research institutions and groups are helping those affected by this extraordinary situation.

Experts working in the USA, in many cases top world scientists, were placed in the critical position of not being allowed back to their home institutions in the United States by the fact that their countries of origin were hit by President Trump’s Order, leaving them stranded abroad. “With respect to junior and senior scientists hit by the situation, the CEITEC Institute of Masaryk University is considering offering them inclusion in the existing visiting professors’ programme, too,” said Jiří Nantl, Director of the Institute. He added that the initiative is still active, despite the fact that US courts are examining the Order.

Ever more research-group leaders are offering their help. “The Order is discriminatory. It makes the lives and careers of the scientists unreasonably difficult,” said the CEITEC Institute’s Pavel Plevka, the holder of a prestigious ERC Grant who worked in the USA for several years. He himself and his three colleagues Štěpánka Vaňáčová, Jan Hejátko and Helene Robert Boisivon have already offered places in their laboratories to those affected by the Order.