President Trump's executive order will make future scientific breakthroughs harder

Our letter to the Foreign Secretary urging the UK government to make clear that President Trump's executive order on immigration will make future scientific breakthroughs harder.


Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
King Charles Street

Dear Foreign Secretary,

The Physiological Society is a learned society established over 140 years ago to represent physiologists and physiology in the UK and internationally. 

I am writing to raise our serious concerns about the implications of President Trump’s executive order on immigration for our members and future scientific research.

While in the days following the introduction of the executive order, the UK government has secured greater reassurance for UK citizens with dual nationality, media reports suggest the reality on the ground is unclear and confusing.  It should also be noted that there are many scientists from the affected countries, without dual nationality, working in the UK.  The executive order makes it impossible for them to travel to the USA.

Furthermore, science is a truly global endeavour and The Physiological Society represents physiologists from across the world. Our academic journals have global reach and are read by researchers across all five continents. Through our 140 year existence, we know that new discoveries are made when limitations on sharing knowledge and experience are reduced. The rhetoric of building walls and travel bans emanating from the new US Administration will make it harder for scientists to work together to make future scientific breakthroughs.

With the US responsible for around 30% of the world’s research and development funding, barriers to cross-border collaboration will have a huge impact on the global scientific community.

We urge the UK government to make clear to the US Administration that this executive order is not only cruel and degrading to the individuals affected, but has very real potential to damage ongoing scientific work. 

Yours sincerely,
Professor David Eisner
President, The Physiological Society