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Creating a brain gain

Whilst young researchers need to move about and work in different environments, too often they go from the EU to the USA. Europe must develop a range of policies to reverse this, says Sigrid Bresoski, R&D advisor at the secretariat of UNICE, the Union of Industrial and Employers Confederations in Europe.

Sigrid Bresosky
Sigrid Bresoski

Opportunities are the driving force behind human behaviour,” explains Bresoski, arguing that Europe has the potential to solve the brain-drain problem. The concern that mobility for EU researchers too often means a one-way ticket to the USA requires a wide-ranging policy response in the European Union. She says the Union must identify the factors that motivate EU researchers to emigrate, and benchmark US initiatives to attract foreign researchers, with a view to emulating them in Europe. South Korea has implemented a scheme doing just that, attracting Korean researchers back from the USA.

Potential to improve

Of course, one big attraction of the USA concerns the higher rewards on offer. “We need to increase the volume and effectiveness of financial resources for research in Europe,” says Bresoski, “as well as training more scientists and engineers.” Greater attention must be paid to researchers’ working environments, both younger researchers on the way up and returning emigrants. “Public-private technology platforms, linked to infrastructure such as science parks or centres of excellence, need to be developed to attract talented scientists,” she suggests.

“Reversing the brain drain is not enough. We need to create a brain gain,” Bresoski insists. “We should be using Europe’s potential to attract foreign researchers, such as science graduates from Asia, as well as doing far more to attract women into scientific careers.”



last update: 23-01-2003