International mobility of researchers and the circulation of knowledge
University of Lisbon Instituto de Ciencias Sociais Lisbon, Portugal
The international mobility of researchers has been strongly promoted both by the European Union (with programmes such as the Marie Curie Fellowships, the ERA Careers website, the European Charter for Researchers) and by national governments (that fund grants abroad or to foreign citizens and lift administrative barriers to the entry of highly qualified personnel). These policies rely on the assumption that international mobility enhances professional development in individual careers but also generates networks through which knowledge is circulated, fostering the production of science.
International scientific mobility has been extensively researched in the past few years. However, these studies have focused mainly on pull/push factors of scientific systems and career issues and not much attention has been paid to the role of mobility on generating and sustaining knowledge flows.
This presentation aims to address this issue, in particular whether mobile scientists keep ties with different locations, promote collaborative international projects, are more prone to publish internationally, and build bridges between different national scientific systems.
It is based on an ongoing post-doctoral research project regarding the international mobility of Portuguese researchers. Empirical data stems from two main sources: a survey of scientists abroad carried out in 2007; and a set of interviews with returnee researchers with PhDs from foreign institutions, who are currently working in science in Portugal, performed in 2008.