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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Human Rights
of the NAS, NAE, and NAM

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Right to Science

Resources on the nature and scope of the right to science

updated covid resources volunteer

Scientists, engineers, and health professionals have a unique opportunity to lend their expertise through volunteering opportunities related to efforts to combat COVID-19. Selected opportunities are highlighted below: 

COVID-19 National Scientist Volunteer Database

Harvard postdoctoral fellow Michael F. Wells has created a national database of scientists interested in providing assistance on projects related to covid-19. Currently the database contains information on more than 9,000 scientists with expertise on issues such as RNA sequencing, qPCR, vaccine development, bioinformatics, ELISA, sample collection, and data management (including expertise on how to safely transfer data). Wells and his team of coordinators share information from the database with state/county health officials, universities, hospitals, and other organizations throughout the country that are seeking to scale up their testing capacities. They also maintain several chapters at a local level. To date, this initiative has helped connect scientists with projects run by seven states and FEMA.


International Rescue Committee's is a platform created by the International Rescue Committee, and its partners, designed to help refugees and immigrants who are trained medical and health professionals but are not credentialed in the U.S. to join the fight against COVID-19. The platform requires interested individuals to complete a registration survey, which asks a number of questions relating to the health background of the applicants as well as their English level, current location, and availability to travel.


Engineers Without Borders COVID-19 Response

As a humanitarian organization, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is dedicated to providing the most fragile communities across the globe with the infrastructure they need to survive and thrive. EWO has developed a specific COVID-19 web page that allows people to submit ideas, apply to be a part of its response, find tools, and share stories. Visit EWO's website for opportunities to engage in its response efforts.


Physicians for Human Rights COVID-19 Response

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has a range of ongoing advocacy projects related to COVID-19, including a project aimed at securing the release of asylum seekers who are currently in detention. PHR has also been involved in connecting health professionals, epidemiologists, and other scientists with relevant expertise with the lawyers of individuals seeking release from detention for health-related reasons that place them at high risk in case of infection. Doctors and other health care professionals interested in supporting the work of PHR can find more information on PHR's website. 

In order to better understand dilemmas frontline health care workers are facing during the COVID-19 response, PHR and the University of California, Berkeley have created this short survey


 More volunteering opportunities not specifically related to COVID-19 can be found here.