Scientific Mobility in an Enlarging European Union
Chapter 6: The Role of Networks and Connections in Shaping Migration Processes and Effects
6. The role of networks and connections in shaping migration processes and eﬀects INTRODUCTION This chapter considers the role that networks and connections play in scientiﬁc migration. Existing literature tends to polarize the debate into two distinct positions. The ﬁrst stance suggests that networks make migrants, lubricating and channelling migratory outﬂows with a multiplier eﬀect. The second stance – found in a growing body of literature with a focus predominantly on developing countries – identiﬁes the potential that scientiﬁc diaspora present as critical compensatory mechanisms, enabling sending regions to beneﬁt from the enriched human capital of their expatriates through forms of ‘disembodied’ knowledge transfer. This chapter explores the relationship between networking and migration/knowledge transfer processes. It considers the relevance of the concept of diaspora in the context of scientiﬁc communities, the quality and function of connections and the factors shaping connectedness in that speciﬁc context. The ﬁrst aspect of the migration/knowledge transfer process concerns the contribution of networks to the physical movement of scientists, both in terms of outward and return ﬂows. To the extent that knowledge is embedded in scientists, this process of mobility might be expected to involve a high degree of knowledge transfer. It cannot be assumed that knowledge is transferred in any perfect or complete sense, however, as this rather depends on the context within which the scientists are accruing and applying their skills. The second process concerns the importance of networks to ‘disembodied’ or ‘reverse’ knowledge ﬂows. In...
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