PhD problem

The US can rejoice.  PhDs trained in the US are likely to stay back in more cases than not.  In this article in the WSJ theres data to refute the contention that Chinese and Indian PhDs are moving back to their home countries where opportunities abound.

62% of foreigners holding temporary visas who earned Ph.D.s in science and engineering at U.S. universities in 2002 were still in the U.S. in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available. Of those who graduated in 1997, 60% were still in the U.S. in 2007

Specifically, 81% of Indians who completed their PhDs in 2002 were around in 2007 (chart below).  One of the interviewees puts it well

“One of the most important things with an academic background is the work that you do, and is it exciting? I’m not saying there is no exciting work in India. Many people have gone back and started companies.”

Apparently things haven’t changed that much since I finished engineering.  Want to excel in technology? Go to the US.  Want to stay in India?  Do an MBA.


Great for the US.  Not so good for India.  PhDs are critical to the process of innovation and advancement of knowledge.  We need to find a way to get them back, and a booming economy is not enough.