ERIC Number: EJ1070704
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
An Inevitable Moment: US Brain Drain
Coppola, Brian P.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v47 n4 p36-45 2015
In this article, Brian Coppola begins by discussing the 2007 National Academies of Sciences (NAS) publication, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" which called for for reprioritizing investments because "the world is changing rapidly, and our advantages are no longer unique. Without a renewed effort to bolster the foundations of our competitiveness, we can expect to lose our privileged position over the coming decades" (p. 223). In an unusual three-year follow-up report--"Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited"--NAS identified China as the main locus of technological advancement, with "science and technology as the primary productive forces." That advancement has been powered by the return of Chinese citizens educated and employed the West and the country's recruitment of Western scholars. Coppola goes on to point out that whereas the best scientists in China increasingly have access to next-generation instrumentation and substantial government support, the ability of young US scientists to do competitive science is hindered by outdated equipment, the high cost of doing work, and low support for students. He then presents the stories of two young Western scientists working in China to illustrate the advantages and difficulties associated with such a move. The scientists report having excellent lab space, generous start-up packages, good students, competitive salaries, external research support, and stipends for publishing. Language and the social setting and culture turn out to be less of a problem than anticipated, but making and sustaining connections ("guanxi") is key to success. Coppola concludes that the economics of doing research in the US need to change or else the competitive gap projected by the "Gathering Storm" reports will make China appear increasingly attractive to scientists.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Brain Drain, Competition, Science Equipment, Costs, Financial Support, Science Education, Research, Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A