tists and engineers trained to work between cultures may be increasingly important as these negotiations proceed, and US students may benefit from overseas postgraduate training and research experience.99


Many educational and employment sectors and government agencies have an investment in the activities of international graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, so it is not surprising that the United States has no single government strategy for addressing their activities. The research universities themselves have much to consider. In general, they have invested heavily in the practice of staffing their laboratories and classrooms with graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, about half of whom are temporary residents. As seen in Chapter 2, some of the current policies that most directly influence international flows of scientists and engineers are shaped by concerns over national security and stability considerations rather than by scientific issues: Will this student visitor cause any harm while in the United States? Will that exchange scholar develop or take home knowledge that can be used against US interests?

Clearly, the nation needs flexible policies to deal with international students and scholars, a population that, although small, appears to be highly productive and beneficial. However, to craft effective policies, the federal agencies require a better understanding of the impact of international scientists and engineers on US research and education, economic competitiveness, national security, foreign policy, and international relations.100 The most reasonable approach is likely to be evolutionary, as policymakers in government, academe, and industry grapple more directly with the questions and findings of the many sources cited in this report.

The primary focus should be on maintaining research excellence. The United States must encourage and attract the most talented people. While continuing to attract the best talent worldwide, the United States should make every effort to encourage domestic student interest in S&E programs and careers. That will require efforts on the part of the faculty to encourage students and the federal government to provide funding for such students to do graduate research.


and Public Policy 29(6):409-17; David King. 2004. “The scientific impact of nations.” Nature 430:311-16.


For example, The National Science Foundation sponsors several research opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars through its office of international S&E, as does the US Department of State through its sponsorship of the Fulbright program.


Dorothy S. Zinberg, 1991. “Contradictions and complexity: international comparisons in the training of foreign scientists and engineers.” In: The Changing University, ed. D. S. Zinberg. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 55.

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