2002 (see Table 1-1, and Figures 1-1 and 1-2). The share of temporary-resident postdoctoral scholars has increased from 37.4 percent in 1982 to 58.8 percent in 2002 (see Figure 1-3). In some fields, temporary residents make up more than half the populations of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

Despite the growing presence of international S&E graduate students and postdoctoral scholars on US university campuses, the data gathered by different sources on their numbers and activities are difficult to compare1 (see Box 1-1 and Chapter 4) and yield only an approximate picture of their career status and contributions. The high level of participation of international scientists and engineers in US laboratories and classrooms warrants increased efforts to understand this phenomenon and to ensure that policies regarding their movement and activities are flexible to allow for rapid changes in research and technology.

Students and scholars contribute at many levels—as technicians, teachers, and researchers and in other occupations in which technical training is desirable. They have also been shown to generate economic gains by adding to the processes of industrial or business innovation.2 And there is evidence that they have made a disproportionate number of exceptional3 contributions to the S&E enterprise of the United States (see Figure 1-22), although more recent data indicates a transition may be underway.

The S&E enterprise is increasingly multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and global. Historically, science has served as a bridge between nations and a means of communication that can transcend political barriers. The exchange of students among countries is considered an element of interna-

1  

A. Gallup-Black. 2004. “International student mobility: Project Atlas.” International Higher Education 37:10-11.

2  

G. Chelleraj, Keith E. Maskus, and A. Mattoo. 2004. The Contribution of Skilled Immigration and International Graduate Students to US Innovation, (Working Paper Number 04-10). Boulder, CO: University of Colorado. The authors conclude, “Our results strongly favor the view that foreign graduate students and immigrants under technical visas are significant inputs into developing new technologies in the American economy.” pp. 28-29. Also, immigration rules that permit immigration of the highly skilled, along with education subsidies, are sufficient to ensure new technology adoption, as shown by an exercise in theoretical modeling by P. Chander and S. Thangavelu. 2004. “Technology adoption, education and immigration policy,” Journal of Development Economics 75(1):79-94

3  

Paula E. Stephan and Sharon G. Levin. 2005. “Foreign scholars in U.S. science: Contributions and costs.” In: Science and the University, eds. Ronald Ehrenberg and Paula Stephan, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press (forthcoming). The authors use six criteria to indicate “exceptional” contributions (not all contributions) in S&E: persons elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) or National Academy of Engineering (NAE), authors of citation classics, authors of hot papers, the 250 most-cited authors, authors of highly cited patents, and scientists who have played a key role in launching biotechnology firms.



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