- A minor exodus also hit one of the hidden strengths of
American science: vast ranks of bright foreigners. In a
significant shift of demographics, they began to leave in
what experts call a reverse brain drain.
After peaking in the mid-1990's, the number of doctoral students from China,
India and Taiwan with plans to stay in the United States
began to fall by the hundreds, according to the foundation.
- These declines are important, analysts say, because newForeign advances in basic science are rivaling or even exceeding America's, apparently with little public awareness of trend or its implications for jobs, industry, national security or vigor of nation's intellectual and cultural life; analysts say profits from breakthroughs are likely to stay overseas, leaving United States to face competition for hiring scientific talent and getting space to showcase its work in top journals; another downturn centers on Nobel Prizes; American share has fallen in 2000's to 51 percent; federal research budgets are still at record highs, but analysts question whether big spending automatically translates into big rewards, as it did in past...
scientific knowledge is an engine of the American economy
and technical innovation, its influence evident in
everything from potent drugs to fast computer chips...
- These declines are important, analysts say, because new
Democritus: Read the article
- "In soccer, if you're great, another team can buy you.
The U.S. is a place where you can do very good science, and if you’re a scientist, you try to go to the best place"
Michele Pagano, associate professor of pathology, New York University
- But critics contend that E.U. funds are often doled out by bureaucrats who prioritize social and geographic factors over science.
The E.U. claims to have reformed its procedures, but the running joke among funding applicants is still that a Portuguese on the team will lock in money — bonus points if there's a female scientist on board. Such tales typify the Brussels bureaucracy, laments computational scientist Peter Sloot of the University of Amsterdam:
"There is a strong administrative and management culture, rather than a scientific culture, in the higher regions of the E.U."
"Growth in the future will come from industries that are science-based...
Europe needs scientists to irrigate them."
Andrew Wyckoff, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
To make that vision a reality across the region, Europe will have to add 700,000 new researchers by 2010 and lure back the Continent's scientific expats...
Brain drain isn't a purely academic problem. Billions of euros and tens of thousands of jobs are at stake, because science drives economic growth in the IT, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors.
Europe can't afford to fall further behind...
Democritus: Read the article