China makes progress in reversing brain drain

Higher proportion of Chinese scholars and students returning home, new book shows

August 18, 2016
People's shadows cast on road crossing

China appears to be making progress in reversing its brain drain, with figures showing that a much greater proportion of students and scholars are returning to the country. In 2000, the number of those leaving China outnumbered those returning by more than four to one.

But by 2013, for every 20 leaving, around 17 were returning, according to data contained in a new book, Globalisation and Transnational Academic Mobility, by Qiongqiong Chen, an academic at the South University of Science and Technology of China, in Shenzhen.

It is unclear whether this is due to tougher visa systems in the West, fewer job opportunities abroad following the financial crisis, or more options back in China. There may also be a lag effect, whereby a surge in leavers only causes a bulge in those coming back when they finish their courses years later.


Number of students and scholars leaving/returning

Number of students and scholars leaving/returning (18 August 2016)

Source: Global­isation and Transnational Academic Mobility


The book details the success and failure of attempts to attract top scholars back to China, such as the Thousand Talents Program, which by 2013 had drawn back more than 2,000 overseas Chinese academics by offering a $160,000 (£123,300) relocation package and up to $1.6 million to set up laboratories. 

But others have hesitated to return because of concerns about requiring a complex network of connections to succeed in China’s universities; “rampant misconduct” in science; and “taboos” in the social sciences, the book says.

david.matthews@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Related articles

POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: Comeback special: China makes progress in reversing brain drain

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry

But the highest value UK spin-off companies mainly come from research-intensive universities, latest figures show