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A Survey on Travel Ban Conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Biomedical Postdoctoral Council
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Volume 15, Issue 4 (April 2017)

Amita Bansal and Nehal Solanki


The University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Postdoctoral Council conducted a survey in the Philadelphia region to explore the impact of the executive order on immigration issued on January 27, 2017 on this community.


The survey included four major research institutes in Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Wistar Institute, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. More than one hundred researchers responded to the survey. About one in three respondents were postdoctoral scholars, and one in five were PhD students (Fig. 1).


Figure 1. Research status of the survey respondents. (N=103)


Eighty-seven percent of the total respondents felt that the ban would negatively impact research and researchers, while a small percentage (8 percent) felt positively about the ban (Fig. 2).


Figure 2. Most survey respondents felt negatively about the ban.


Responses from a few survey respondents included:


“It is absolutely detrimental to the scientific community. Scientific research is a global community. Scientists travel the world to research at different institutions. This ban makes it difficult for some of the brightest minds in the world to come to the United States to research and makes those who are already here scared to leave.”


“Not only is it keeping promising scientists and clinicians from entering the United States, other countries are beginning to boycott events in the United States (e.g., scientific conferences are being boycotted by many people from other countries because of the ban).”


“It causes excellent scientists to leave the country or stop coming to the country. Many people no longer want to live and work in the United States—visa holders from the affected countries who no longer feel safe and secure in their status; immigrants from other countries who worry about future policy affecting their status; and U.S.-born United States citizens like me who are ashamed of their government’s actions and wish to live in a country that better reflects their values.”


For further details of this survey and additional information on the research performed by the University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Postdoctoral Council, please visit the special edition of their newsletter.

Each respondent answered in his/her personal capacity. The article does not represent the views of the University of Pennsylvania or other institutes covered by the survey.


Amita Bansal, PhD, and Nehal Solanki, PhD, are postdoctoral fellows at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.


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