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Connecting the scientific diaspora of the Republic of Moldova to the scientific and economic development of the home country.

English title Connecting the scientific diaspora of the Republic of Moldova to the scientific and economic development of the home country.
Applicant Bolay Jean-Claude
Number 128158
Funding scheme SCOPES
Research institution VPAI - Coopération EPFL
Institution of higher education EPF Lausanne - EPFL
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.01.2010 - 31.12.2013
Approved amount 100'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Sociology
Economics

Keywords (11)

Moldovan scientific diaspora; Skilled migration; Migration and development; Brain gain; Scientific diaspora networks; Scientific development; Economic development; Academy of Sciences of Moldova; skilled migration and reintegration; brain circulation; diaspora networking

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Available information from research and anecdotal sources indicates that many migrants that left since the 1990s intend to return to Moldova ultimately. However, many of the most educated migrants appear to have left on a more permanent basis, and expectations are that migration over the next few years is likely to be increasingly opportunity-led and could involve more permanent migration and a greater risk of brain drain. As a result of this, the Moldovan government is increasingly concerned about the (permanent) loss of its human resources. The wave of migration from the 1990s onwards already caused a major shortage of education professionals, an essential sector for human capital formation. Moldova's scientific community is particularly hard-hit during the first years of independence, with mass-migration of professors and researchers to Israel, Russia, Germany and the USA. Given the massive differentials between salaries in Moldova and these destination countries, there is little policy can do in order to actively stimulate permanent return or to prevent people from leaving. However, successful mobilization of the Moldovan diaspora's intellectual capacity can help realize Moldova's science plans despite an academic/scientific infrastructure which is crumbling under the influence of mass emigration of Moldovan scientists. Emigration from Moldova cannot be avoided, but its negative impact on development may be attenuated by identifying and/or designing measures aimed at connecting high-skilled Moldovan migrants to science and economic development in Moldova. Programs to promote trans-national professional networks have been implemented all over the world and can be effectively replicated in Moldova. This project will identify a feasible mechanism of interaction between scientific diaspora members and their home colleagues. The overall objective of the project is to research ways of establishing a permanent mechanism for involving Moldovan Scientific Diaspora (MSD) in the development process from the Republic of Moldova. The project will reach following goals: - analyze home-land and external factors that made the scientist leave;- determine the profile of Moldovan scientist working abroad;- identify main destination countries and fields of research in which members of MSD are working in;- identify premises for involving members of the MSD into scientific and economic development of the homeland;- identify stimulus for attracting members of MSD to contribute for scientific and economic development of the homeland;- identify feasible permanent instruments for interaction between the MSD and the scientific community of Moldova
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Scientific diasporas, transnationalism and home-country development: Evidence from a study of skilled Moldovans abroad
Tejada Gabriela, Varzari Vitalie Porcescu Sergiu (2013), Scientific diasporas, transnationalism and home-country development: Evidence from a study of skilled Moldovans abroad, in Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 2013, 1-17.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Department of Diaspora Studies, Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences Armenia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Institute of Social Sciences, IVO PILAR Croatia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Institute of Sociology, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Ukraine (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
UNDP Brain Gain Programme Albania (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
International workshop: "Diaspora in scientific research and higher education from Romania" 25.09.2012 Bucharest
International workshop: "Migration, transnationalism and development in the Balkans and South East Europe" 28.08.2012 Amsterdam
International Conference "Highly skilled migration into the 21st. Century" 24.05.2012 London, Middlesex University


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Regional workshop: highly skilled mobility and the development of the research and innovation sector of the Republic of Moldova: the need for a structured vision" 12.10.2012 ASM, Chisinau
Workshop to discuss preliminary research results and outputs of ASM-EPFL project 02.02.2012 EPFL, Lausanne

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Dissemination of reserch results ASM web site International 01.10.2012
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Diaspora Network on-line platform International 01.10.2011
Other activities International Conference International 09.06.2011

Awards

Title Year
Diploma of gratitude to promote a sucessful inter-institutional partnership ASM-EPFL 2012

Abstract

International mobility of talent and its most visible manifestation, brain drain (usually defined as the high flows of migration of human capital from less to more developed economies), is central for education, knowledge and development. Expatriates do not necessary need to be investors or make financial contributions to have an impact in their home countries. They can serve as bridges, by providing access to markets, sources of investment and expertise. Influ-ential members of diasporas can shape public debate, articulate reform plans, and help imple-ment reforms and new projects. In addition, diaspora networks are but the latest bridge insti-tutions connecting developing economy insiders (with their risk mitigating, knowledge and connections) to outsiders in command of technical know-how and investment capital. Thus, one of the main advancements in migration and development thinking in recent years has been a shift from an emphasis on the potentially negative impact of migration to recognition of its possible positive effects. In this context, skilled migrants are recognized as agents for de-velopment and advancement in the scientific, economic and social fields in their home countries. As such, they hold the potential to help build scientific diaspora networks (Barré et al., 2003), forge further links between sending and receiving countries, and directly contribute to development efforts. Different examples from around the world have shown how skilled mi-grants can indeed contribute to their home countries through diverse practices that retrieve their resources and skills, either physically through temporary or permanent return to the home country, or virtually by making use of new communication and information technologies. Furthermore, return migrants also have a powerful symbolic importance and they challenge popular migration culture, especially the feeling among young people that there are no reward-ing professional opportunities in their countries of origin. Indeed, 44% of the population in Moldova aged between 18 and 40 (both skilled and unskilled) have indicated that they are se-riously considering migration. For Moldova, the economic instability of the 1990s and the lack of experience in the manage-ment of science policies within the context of a market economy in transition has had a nega-tive effect on the country's scientific potential. Brain-drain within the realm of R&D has ham-pered interaction with the international scientific community, with the number of scientific re-searchers falling by 58% since 1990. Because of special integration programs for immigrant scientists, many Moldovans have opted to continue their academic careers at foreign universi-ties and research institutions.However, 2004 was a turning point for the development of science in Moldova. On the one hand, there were significant changes after the adoption of the Code for Science and Innovation. The financing of science and innovation from the state budget has increased considerably since then, and this has made a significant contribution in terms of re-equipping laboratories with contemporary scientific devices, increasing investment in research and development activities, improving working conditions and the remuneration of scientific researchers and investment in Moldovan participation in international research programs. On the other hand, the drafting and implementation of a coherent policy by Moldovan authorities for the creation of a legal framework for migrants wishing to return to their country of origin has also helped to pave the way for short/long-term repatriation and the reintegration of labour migrants. However, no clear policy has been established for the return of skilled migrants. The information available from research and anecdotal sources indicates that many migrants who have left since the 1990s intend to eventually return to Moldova. However, many of the most educated migrants appear to have left on a more permanent basis, and over the next few years migration is likely to be increasingly opportunity-led and could involve more permanent migration and a greater risk of brain drain (IOM, 2007). As a result of this new trend, the Moldovan government is increasingly concerned about the (permanent) loss of its human re-sources. The wave of migration from the 1990s onwards had already caused a major shortage of education professionals - an essential sector for human capital formation. Moldova's scientific community was particularly hard-hit during the early years of independence, with mass-migration of lecturers and researchers to Israel, Russia, Germany and the USA. Given the massive differentials between salaries in Moldova and these destination countries, there is very little that can be done policy-wise to actively stimulate permanent return or to prevent people from leaving. However, successful mobilization of the Moldovan diaspora's intellectual capacity can help accomplish Moldova's science plans in spite of an academic/scientific infrastructure that is crumbling under the influence of the mass emigration of Moldovan scientists. Emigration from Moldova cannot be avoided in the short term, but its negative impact on de-velopment may be curtailed by identifying and/or designing measures aimed at connecting skilled Moldovan migrants with science and economic development in Moldova. Programs to promote transnational professional networks have been implemented all over the world and these can be effectively replicated in this case study country.The general aim of this research project is to advance knowledge based evidence and to offer a number of clues that can be useful in helping to leverage the potentialities of the scientific diaspora of the Republic of Moldova and enabling the identification of ways of establishing a permanent mechanism to get this diaspora involved in the development process of the home country.Accordingly, the project is intended to yield the following results:1. Contribute knowledge-based evidence on the position of the scientific diaspora of the Republic of Moldova in different countries of destination, and analyse their willingness and the opportunities to collaborate with the scientific community in the home country in order to advance scientific and economic development.2. Contribute to the policy dialogue through the organization of a round table on policy implications and recommendations on how to better engage with the scientific diaspora of Moldova to benefit endogenous development. 3. Design of a permanent mechanism to involve the scientific diaspora of the Republic of Moldova in the development process of the home country.The project will be carried out in joint collaboration between the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Academy of Sciences of Moldova (ASM). Recognising the importance of the scientific diaspora for local scientific and economic development of the Republic of Moldova, the European Integration and International Cooperation Department of the ASM has recently launched diverse initiatives aiming at setting up a platform for communication and in-teraction between the Moldovan scientific diaspora and the local scientific community. Since then it has made a great effort at both a research and a practical level. On the other hand, over the last few years, the Cooperation@epfl unit at the EPFL has developed expertise on sci-entific diasporas, contributing to the policy dialogue on migration and development and scientific cooperation policies. This joint collaboration project will build on the methodologies developed by the EPFL as innovative guidelines, encouraging brain gain endeavours in the Republic of Moldova, and it will facilitate the replication of good practices, taking advantage of the scientific results and specific policy recommendations of other case study countries.
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