Some Scientists Lured Back to China from the U.S.

scientist

Some Chinese scientists who have established their careers in the U.S. are deciding to return to China, according to Sharon LaFraniere’s article entitled Fighting Trend, China is Luring Scientists Home, in January 6th’s New York Times.  The number of returnees seem to be small but significant.

In brief, here are the pros and cons of returning to China, according to the article:

Pros:

* Chinese government and Party support for returning scientists.

* Scientists can take pride in helping their own nation.

* Within the next 20 years, China may surpass the U.S. in the ability to commercialize R&D.

* The ability to make a difference: Shi Yigong left a position at Princeton to become the dean of life sciences at Tsinghua. He admits that Tsinghua is not on par with Princeton, but “[i]n the United States, everything is more or less set up. Whatever I do here [in China], the impact is probably tenfold, or a hundredfold.”

* The sense that “Asians confront[ ] a glass ceiling in the United States.”

Cons:

* The Chinese scientific community may not recognize the contributions made overseas by returnees.

* “Connections too often trump[ ] merit when grants [a]re handed out in China.”

What do you think?

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