Wednesday, January 30, 2008

As Federal Research Funds Decrease, More Scientists Leave U.S. to Work Overseas

Here is another article on the depressing state of science funding in the US. This article presents how things are slowly shifting away from the US to Europe and East Asia.

Increased competition and diminished federal funding have made it tougher for scientists to rely on the grants that once generously supported labs, research and training of future scientists. The shortage comes at a time when corporate research facilities, such as Bell Labs, have largely disappeared. The stagnant, and in some cases, dwindling money pool has forced many scientists to bid the profession goodbye. Growing numbers are joining the flight overseas to more “research-friendly” countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, and India.

The article seems to be based more on anecdotal evidence than solid statistics (see,for example, the Science and Engineering Indicators 2008). Still, for many people in this field, there is a slow trend here that have been observed that is consistent with the report.

While there is a glimmer of hope based on the President's State of the Union address (and the enthusiastic support shown by Congress), we all know not to trust such rhetoric until we actually get the money. We have been burnt way too many times to actually put a lot of credibility in politicians' promises. So my skepticism continues. To those in power, I only have one thing to say: "Show Me The Money".



Kent said...

You wouldn't know how much corporate research funding has dropped over the years would you?

ZapperZ said...

I don't have those number on hand, no. But considering that Bell Labs has essentially stopped all basic physics research, unlike many years ago before AT&T splintered into its various components, I would say there is a noticeable drop in such spending.