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 8: Brain Drain? The Experiences of Sending Countries

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 The previous chapter has demonstrated the importance of scientific mobility to scientific labour markets in receiving regions. In the process, it has attempted to expose both the opportunities and challenges that internationalization poses for scientific sustainability from the perspective of receiving countries. Sustainability is more commonly considered in the context of sending regions and features in many discussions around highly skilled migration and the phenomenon of brain drain. This chapter thus moves on to explore the effects of the kinds of mobility we have identified on scientific development and scientists from Bulgaria and Poland. As a result, this chapter is a lengthy one: but this detail is needed to understand fully the experiences of sending regions. It focuses in more detail on the implications of the flows described in Chapter 2 and whether such flows, in themselves, can be considered as evidence of a negative brain or skills drain. The impact of scientific emigration is unclear and contested. Katseli and colleagues (2006a: 9) argue that whilst ‘massive and unmanaged migration especially of highly skilled migrants can have deleterious effects on service delivery, inequality and labour depletion . . . [it can also] generate substantial direct and indirect gains for sending countries via employment generation, human capital accumulation, remittances, diaspora networks and return migration’. Recent work on the impact of highly skilled migration on Slovakia identifies a range of human capital outcomes, including brain gain, brain drain, brain waste, brain circulation and brain over...

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