How you can help Ukrainian scientists and other refugees

We are all deeply saddened by the daily news reports over the last month about the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military. In recent days, it appears that the innocent people of Ukraine are actually becoming the new targets of the Russian forces. I think we all assumed that such shocking and unprovoked actions had already been consigned to the pages of history.

The road ahead for the Ukrainian people appears to be long and uncertain. Innocent civilians pay a heavy price in every war but the apparent calculated decision by the Russian military to focus on civilians makes the humanitarian crisis even worse. We must keep the Ukrainian people, including our scientific colleagues there, in our thoughts.

While you most likely share my sense of helplessness, there are opportunities for us to assist those organizations who are helping the citizens of Ukraine who now find themselves driven from their homes and homeland.

At the start of the war, the Polish Academy of Sciences joined with the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences to help place Ukrainian scientists in Polish research institutions. Initial funds for that project were quickly exhausted. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has launched the Safe Passage Fund to help provide additional funds for the joint project of the Ukrainian and Polish academies of science. [Editor’s note: The Biden administration also recently extended visa protection to Ukrainian scientists.]

You may have your own favorite charity, but you may also want to consider donating to one of the following organizations that are providing relief to all Ukrainian refugees:

World Central Kitchen (WCK) is providing meals to Ukrainians as they cross the border into Poland, Moldova, and Hungary. WCK is also helping to provide meals for those in 12 Ukrainian cities.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has medical teams in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia, and Belarus to provide medical care to Ukrainian refugees.

Ukrainian Crisis Relief Fund (UCRF) is a project of GlobalGiving, which connects nonprofits, donors and companies. Donations support humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled.

*WCK, MSF, and UCRF have received a 4-star, “Give with Confidence” recommendation by Charity Navigator, an organization that evaluates charities.

About the Author:

ASCB President Martin Chalfie is University Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University.