Moving People and Knowledge
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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.
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Chapter 3: Migration Processes and their Determinants: ‘Professional’ Factors

Louise Ackers and Bryony Gill


1 INTRODUCTION The literature on highly skilled, and indeed all forms of migration, has tended to shift in recent years from a narrow and economically focused analysis of push-pull factors, to a somewhat broader concern with migration motivations. Whilst this development quite rightly shifts the emphasis from an often rather limited analysis of the relative merits of two distinct places or positions (the sending and receiving locations), the emphasis on identifying motivational dynamics continues to characterize migration as an atemporal process and fails to capture the degree of complexity and flux identified in the previous chapter. The majority of scientific migrants move repeatedly, often incorporating returns and re-emigrations in their trajectories as careers and the life-course evolve over time. Mobility of one form or another is almost always on the agenda and under constant negotiation and reflection. Quite often, decisions concern not only whether or where to move (or return) but, critically, for how long to stay and on what basis. Our concept of a migration decision therefore needs to encompass fully the somewhat distinct but related issues of location decision and length of stay. Even in this more fluid context we need to take care in conceptualizing the decision itself: the very notion of a migration decision implies a conscious and active appraisal of situations by a rational, informed actor or actors – if we acknowledge the involvement of other actors such as family and friends and colleagues in this process – at any point in time. Hadler...

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