Moving People and Knowledge

Moving People and Knowledge

Scientific Mobility in an Enlarging European Union

Louise Ackers and Bryony Gill

Moving People and Knowledge provides a fresh examination of the processes of highly skilled science migration. Focusing on intra-European mobility and, in particular, on the new dynamics of East–West migration, the authors investigate the movement of Polish and Bulgarian researchers to and from the UK and Germany. Key questions include: who is moving, how long for, and why? In addressing the motivations and experiences of mobile scientists and their families, insights into professional and personal motivations are provided, demonstrating how relationships, networks and infrastructures shape decision-making. This book provides a useful perspective on the implications of increasing researcher mobility – for both sending and receiving regions and the individuals concerned – which is necessary for the construction of future policies on sustainable scientific development.

Chapter 2: Circulators, Returners and Settlers: Migration Trajectories and Patterns

Louise Ackers and Bryony Gill

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, knowledge management, development studies, family and gender policy, migration, innovation and technology, knowledge management, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, family and gender policy, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


INTRODUCTION This chapter is organized in two parts. The first part proceeds with discussion about the scale of out-migration from Poland and Bulgaria; this in combination with discussion about the demographic challenges they face, helps to contextualize the analysis of the impact of such flows for sending regions presented later. The second part of the chapter describes the patterns of mobility exhibited by our respondents in the MOBEX2 study. The object there is not to map the geography or volume of intra-EU scientific flows as such but rather to identify the characteristics of mobility patterns. I ASSESSING THE VOLUME AND QUALITY OF SCIENTIFIC EMIGRATION FROM POLAND AND BULGARIA According to Kupiszewski (2002: 643), ‘forecasting international migration is the most difficult task that demographers face’. Kupiszewski goes on to list the key problems frustrating accurate statistical analysis of flows, including: lack of uniform definitions and the inability to distinguish longterm settlement from short-term migration and capture ‘pendulum migrations’. His overview of current data uncovered massive differences between migration figures sourced in the country of origin and host countries (which in some cases vary by a magnitude of 30-fold). Kupiszewski concludes that ‘neither the German nor the Polish migration data present reliable or realistic statistical information’ suggesting that estimates are often little better than a ‘statistical fiction’ (ibid.: 629). Other experts in the field of highly skilled migration come to similar conclusions. Kicinger (2005: 33), for example, refers to the lack of reliable data on the number of...

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