Migration of Indian scientists and engineers to the US has increased by 85% in 10 years, a report of the highest scientific body of the United States has said.
The report of the National Science Foundation — Immigrants’ Growing Presence in the US Science and Engineering Workforce: Education and Employment Characteristics in 2013 — released this month said that of all the immigrant scientists and engineers in the United States in 2013, 57% were born in Asia.
Among the Asian countries, India continued its trend of being the top country of birth for immigrant scientists and engineers, with 9,50,000 out of Asia’s total 2.96 million. India’s 2013 figure represented an 85% increase from 2003.
From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers residing in the US grew from 21.6 million to 29 million. An important factor in this growth has been immigration. In 2013, 18% (5.2 million) of the scientists and engineers residing in the United States were immigrants whereas in 2003, 16% (3.4 million) were immigrants.
The most common broad fields of study for immigrant scientists and engineers in 2013 were engineering, computer and mathematical sciences, and social and related sciences.
“India’s huge population of talented youth means that we have enough young minds who can contribute to India from India and to India from outside India. We must continue to develop more excellent institutions and opportunities here so that the best have avenues here and not only abroad. This development of excellence is indeed happening,” Vijay Raghavan, secretary department of biotechnology, told HT.
RA Mashelkar, former director general, CSIR, said: “We need to create an environment in which innovation flourishes. Otherwise the innovators will either play safe and not innovate, or they will leave to become a part of other societies, which encourage innovation.”
He said, “A fraction of the scientists and engineers are returning. Assuming 15% of them are the ones that have come back, it is just 30,000. May be 20,000 have come back to new IISERs, IITs, central universities, industrial R&D centres, etc. Put together, it means less than 50,000 have come back. This is just 5% of 9,50,000 immigrants in the US.”