Scientific Diaspora: Stay Plans of Indian Faculty in the United States

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
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  • 1 The University of Texas at Dallas
  • 2 University of New Mexico

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In recent years, the “brain drain” experienced by developing countries, as their scientists and engineers chose to work and live permanently in developed countries, is seen as reversing. Although a reverse brain drain is projected as a new trend, a substantial number of immigrant scientists and engineers continue to work and live in developed countries. This paper presents the reasons why Indian faculty in science and engineering stay in the United States. Data for this study come from 51 in-depth interviews of faculty members of Indian origin working in various research universities across the us. Findings show that, although Indian faculty came to the us for higher education without intending to become permanent residents, they chose to stay mostly due to the research opportunities, favorable work environments, career prospects and lifestyle preferences available in the us. They cope with the absence of family and cultural distance through periodic visits to India and by developing professional relationships with scientists and engineers in their home country—activities that facilitate transnational migration. The study adds validity to the international migration theory, which has not taken this particular group of faculty into consideration.

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