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Science Careers Blog

September 10, 2012

"Brain Circulation" Replacing "Brain Drain" in Global Research, Say University Leaders

Representatives from higher education institutions in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia met last week in Seeon, Germany, at the Sixth Annual Strategic Leaders Global Summit, an event co-hosted by Germany's Technische Universitat Munchenthe and the Council of Graduate Schools, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The meeting's theme was "From Brain Drain to Brain Circulation: Graduate Education for Global Career Pathways."

"Brain circulation," meeting attendees noted in a consensus statement issued 6 September, is the "mutli-directional flow of talents, education and research that benefit multiple countries and regions and the advancement of global knowledge." In an era when many scientists and scholars move between several countries to pursue training and research, the statement suggests, "brain circulation" often more accurately describes international mobility than "brain drain," which implies a unidirectional flow that only benefits certain countries.

"Today's doctoral and master's students will enter and lead a rapidly globalizing research enterprise. In a world where technology and research offer new opportunities for global collaboration, all early-stage researchers must be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a globalizing workforce," declared educational leaders from 15 countries.

The statement also lists 10 "principles for supporting global careers" that educational institutions should follow. Among other advice, the principles state that institutions should "integrate international experiences and training into graduate degree programs"; "provide robust support systems, programs and services for international students and early-state researchers"; "prepare graduate students for ethical issues ... in a globalizing workforce"; and "encourage funding agencies to allocate funding for international research experience and global competency training for PhD candidates."

Meeting organizers plan to publish the proceedings in 2013.

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