New IIR Report: The 2018 Nobel Laureates and Foreign-Born Scholars in the U.S. Higher Education System

New IIR Report: The 2018 Nobel Laureates and Foreign-Born Scholars in the U.S. Higher Education System

Each year the Nobel Prizes have been presented to Nobel Laureates on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death. Today, the 2018 Nobel Prizes were awarded in Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden.

This new report notes that in 2018, none of the American winners were foreign-born individuals who immigrated permanently to the United States. But the United States did play an important role in their formation; nine of the twelve 2018 Nobel Laureates were either students, teachers, or research fellows at U.S. institutions of higher education at some point in their lives. Three of the 2018 Nobel Laureates were foreign-born academics who spent considerable time at U.S. institutions.

  • Dr. Donna Strickland, Nobel Laureate in Physics, is Canadian an received her degree from the University of Rochester (NY) and worked at Princeton University.
  • Professor Dr. Gerard Mourou, Nobel Laureate in Physics, is French and worked at  the University of Rochester with Dr. Strickland.
  • Dr. Tasuku Honjo, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, is Japanese and was was affiliated with the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

This report examines the role of U.S. institutions of higher learning in providing the world’s best scientists and researchers with the human and physical resources and research environments necessary to reach the highest echelons of scientific discovery and innovation.
It also highlights how changes to U.S. immigration policies and attitudes may negatively impact foreign scholars’ ability to study, work, and conduct research in the United States. By restricting the admission of foreign nationals, the United States may be effectively closing the door on the next Nobel Prize winner, and impeding important research and scientific discoveries. 

Visit our website,, for more data and analysis of immigrants and immigration in the United States.