Aug 10, 2017
Expert Voices

Stay or go, what matters is the choice

Scientists discuss leaving the U.S. in this week's Expert Voices.

As the conditions for excellent research improve in many countries around the world, it is unavoidable that more and more U.S.-trained researchers will spend at least part of their careers abroad. This is not my big concern. Scientific research is not a zero-sum enterprise, where one country's gain is another's loss. Uncertain funding in the U.S. and impediments to open collaboration — like restrictions on immigration and visas or even social biases against foreigners — may increase incentives for researchers to go abroad; more importantly, those conditions, and anything else that makes scientific collaboration less easy, harms America.

The bottom line: It is not the flow of American scientists abroad that concerns me. It is the discouragement of the free flow of researchers in and out of our country — Americans and non-Americans.

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