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From brain drain to brain circulation: Leveraging S&T diasporas Observations for Colombia Yevgeny Kuznetsov Senior Research Fellow Migration Policy Institute Washington DC WORKSHOP INTERNACIONAL DE LA DIÁSPORA CIENTÍFICA COLOMBIANA EN NORTEAMÉRICA December 5, 2013 Cambridge, MA

Roadmap I. Impact of the diaspora of the highly skilled II. Lessons of S&T diaspora initiatives III. Emerging good practice

Motivation Market for the highly skilled Will become even more globally integrated Increasing returns to skills will continue to favor spatial concentration: clustering phenomenon The brain drain will increase, both from developed and developing countries Expansion of far-flung skilled diasporas – networks of talent abroad

Top Skilled Emigration Countries Stock of tertiary-educated foreign-born residents in OECD (2000) All countries of origin 1







































Some Scenarios for Skills Be productively employed in the country: growth of clusters and non-traditional exports Leave the country and be lost for it: brain drain Leave the country yet be engaged in projects at home: brain circulation Leave and come back: return migration

Diversity of Skills (and respective Diaspora networks and initiatives )

Scientific Technical Medical professionals Entrepreneurial and managerial Cultural Tacit skills (not necessarily requiring higher education)

Common Mistakes Preoccupation with the return of skills: physical reallocation to home countries Preoccupation with one high-profile category – scientists (or doctors)

Instead: Trigger brain circulation: create joint projects with skills abroad. The return may come as a „next step‟ Focus also on business and technical talent Possibility of a self-reinforcing virtuous cycle

Example of a virtuous cycle Incremental Institutional Development: Emergence of venture capital industry in Taiwan Massive foreign education and brain drain in the 60â€&#x;s and 70â€&#x;s Industry and financial sector dominated by large firms. Culture of risk-taking and experimentation virtually nonexisting Silicon Valley as a role model: successful entrepreneurs from Diaspora and the government decide to promote venture capital industry First venture capital fund is established. Government contributes to equity. Expatriates reallocate to Taiwan to manage the Fund. Diaspora in Silicon Valley open up market Demonstration effect of the success triggers establishment of other funds

Taiwan: An Example Taiwan Technology Workers

Taiwan Technology Workers

Source: Annalee Saxenian, University of California, Berkeley

Chile: Developing a biotechnology industry In 1997 Ramón L. García, a Chilean applied geneticist and biotechnology entrepreneur with a PhD from the University of Iowa, contacted Fundación Chile, a Chilean private-public entity charged with technology transfer. Ramón is the CEO of InterLink Biotechnologies, a Princeton, New York-based, company he cofounded in 1991. After jointly reviewing their portfolios of initiatives, Fundación and Interlink founded a new, co-owned company to undertake long-term R&D projects. These projects are needed to transfer technologies to Chile that are key to the continuing competitiveness of its rapidly growing agribusiness sector. Without Ramón‟s combination of deep knowledge of Chile, advanced US education, exposure to US managerial practice and experience as an entrepreneur, the new company would have been inconceivable.

Hierarchy of Diaspora Impact Institutional Reform

Knowledge & Innovation Investments Donations


First Generation of Diasporas Initiatives Studies, conference, and databases vs. projects that last „Tiny flowers blooming‟: a lot of promise once tiny but then hit the wall Projects of philanthropic nature and financial transfers Excitement with technology: digital networks Focus on matchmaking. But the opportunities need to be created before one can match anything Institutional fragility: once individual champions are gone, the program becomes a „living dead‟

Why diaspora initiatives often disappoint?

Easy to start: a lot enthusiasm

More difficult to maintain momentum: enthusiasm tends to evaporate

A need to create win-win situations

Key Constraints and Emerging Good Practice Domestic institutions as the constraint, never the strength, enthusiasm and creativity of diaspora But domestic institutions are heterogeneous: some are (much) better than others Institutionalizing ‘brain circulation’: introducing a procedure to identify and support dynamic domestic institutions and champions who rely on diaspora talent Contest between domestic organizations for joint projects as one example Colombia and Vietnam S&T projects; Mexico and Russia as a new form of leveraging of S&T talent for domestic innovation 14

Role of the Government Three-prong approach:

“Cultivating the Soil”: Create platforms for collaboration, typically with a sophisticated on-line portal “Planting the seeds”: Facilitate a diversity of initiatives from the bottomup („let one thousand flowers bloom‟) “Facilitating a micro-climate”: Provide a framework for information sharing and lessons-learning

Initiatives Cultivating the soil: Collaborative platforms Advance: Australia's Global Community Kea: New Zealandâ€&#x;s Global Network

Planting the seeds and facilitating a micro-climate Contest between domestic knowledge organizations to leverage diaspora members for long-term projects. Examples: Russia, Mexico. Contest between diaspora members to promote both shortterm visits and long-term mobility: Croatia

Conclusions 1. Diasporas can be very useful for home countries but to develop their potential, concerted effort is required. This concerted effort takes time. 2. Institutions at home, not diasporaâ€&#x; commitment is the binding constraints everywhere. 3. In the short term, individual champions and tangible success stories (demonstration effects) are the key. 4. In the longer-term, institutions of the home countries are the key (diasporas are not a panacea) 5. Focus on pragmatism: relying on individual champions to develop institutions in home countries

Yevgeny Kuznetsov  

Yevgeny Kuznetsov