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Bar Harbor lab will provide temporary housing for Ukrainian scientists

MDI Biological Laboratory of Bar Harbor.
Courtesy of MDI Biological Laboratory
via the Bangor Daily News
MDI Biological Laboratory of Bar Harbor.

The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory says it will provide lab space and temporary housing to scientists and their families fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Temporary housing on the MDI campus is already booked for the summer. But the lab's president, Dr. Hermann Haller, said it will find space for two families of four and three others and their spouses to live in the cottages on the laboratory's Bar Harbor campus.

He said the space will be temporary and will give Ukrainian refugees time to think about their next steps.

"They have no idea when the war will stop, whether they can return, how much destruction has happened in their cities and all that, so what they need at the moment, we think, is shelter and housing and a perspective for future life, and this is what we are providing," Haller said.

The lab already houses an international community of scientists from France, India, Germany and other countries. MDI also has strong ties to eastern Europe, and Ukrainian scientists could bring new perspectives to their research, Haller said.

"It's to help them on a personal level but also to make a statement against the war and for scientific freedom and democracy," he said.

The laboratory hasn't received any formal applications yet but has advertised the opportunity to Ukrainian refugee centers in Berlin and Hannover, Germany. Haller is the chairman of nephrology division at the medical school in Hannover.

The Biden administration, which has said it will accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, announced a new resettlement process late last week. Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion will be able to apply for humanitarian parole and eventually for a work visa with help from U.S. sponsor, and the MDI Lab has said it will work immigration officials to support scientists and research personnel who choose to pursue this path.