III.
The Internationalization of U.S. Science and Engineering

The education and training of new scientists is an international endeavor, ensuring that the next generation of innovators is prepared, supported, and encouraged to seek breakthroughs in knowledge for the betterment of society. Science thrives when there is a free exchange of information and when scientists (embodying that information) are able to cross borders to train, collaborate, and share knowledge. As the United States continues to strengthen its efforts to encourage its sons and daughters to pursue careers in science, it also must remain open to the knowledge, creativity, and talent of foreign-born individuals. “To remain competitive in the coming decades, we must continue to embrace the most capable students and scholars of other countries. Our security and quality of life depend on it.”51

For more than 50 years, U.S. research universities have welcomed and fostered the talents of both foreign-born and U.S. students in the service of national and economic security. Since World War II, the United States has experienced a steadily growing inflow of students and postdoctoral scholars from throughout the world, most rapidly during the 1990s.52 Foreign-born scientists and engineers come to the United States, stay in large numbers, and make significant contributions to America’s ability to achieve and maintain technological and economic leadership. Between 1990 and 2004, more than one-third of Nobel Prizes in the United States were awarded to foreign-born scientists. One-third of all U.S. Ph.D.s in science and engineering are now awarded to foreign-born graduate students. Today, the total number of foreign citizens studying in the United States (including undergraduates) has passed the half-million mark. Nearly one-third of all graduate students enrolled at U.S. universities come from abroad.53

Clearly, both domestic and international scientists and engineers have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the U.S. economy. Their impact

51

C. D. Mote, President, University of Maryland. 2005. Testimony before the House Committee on Education and Workforce, Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness and Select Education Committee on Education and the Workforce. March 17.

52

National Science Board. 2004. Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 (NSB 04-1). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, pp. 1-12.

53

J. Oliver. 2006. First-Time Science and Engineering Graduate Enrollment of Foreign Students Drops for the Third Straight Year (NSF 06-321). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities III. The Internationalization of U.S. Science and Engineering The education and training of new scientists is an international endeavor, ensuring that the next generation of innovators is prepared, supported, and encouraged to seek breakthroughs in knowledge for the betterment of society. Science thrives when there is a free exchange of information and when scientists (embodying that information) are able to cross borders to train, collaborate, and share knowledge. As the United States continues to strengthen its efforts to encourage its sons and daughters to pursue careers in science, it also must remain open to the knowledge, creativity, and talent of foreign-born individuals. “To remain competitive in the coming decades, we must continue to embrace the most capable students and scholars of other countries. Our security and quality of life depend on it.”51 For more than 50 years, U.S. research universities have welcomed and fostered the talents of both foreign-born and U.S. students in the service of national and economic security. Since World War II, the United States has experienced a steadily growing inflow of students and postdoctoral scholars from throughout the world, most rapidly during the 1990s.52 Foreign-born scientists and engineers come to the United States, stay in large numbers, and make significant contributions to America’s ability to achieve and maintain technological and economic leadership. Between 1990 and 2004, more than one-third of Nobel Prizes in the United States were awarded to foreign-born scientists. One-third of all U.S. Ph.D.s in science and engineering are now awarded to foreign-born graduate students. Today, the total number of foreign citizens studying in the United States (including undergraduates) has passed the half-million mark. Nearly one-third of all graduate students enrolled at U.S. universities come from abroad.53 Clearly, both domestic and international scientists and engineers have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the U.S. economy. Their impact 51 C. D. Mote, President, University of Maryland. 2005. Testimony before the House Committee on Education and Workforce, Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness and Select Education Committee on Education and the Workforce. March 17. 52 National Science Board. 2004. Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 (NSB 04-1). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, pp. 1-12. 53 J. Oliver. 2006. First-Time Science and Engineering Graduate Enrollment of Foreign Students Drops for the Third Straight Year (NSF 06-321). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities can be inferred from, if not proven by, their participation in U.S. universities, industries, and national laboratories after they receive their doctorates. Foreign-born doctorate-level scientists and engineers constituted 37.3 percent of the U.S. science and engineering labor force in 2000, an increase from 23.9 percent in 1990. Skilled immigrants may contribute at many levels—as technicians, teachers, and researchers—and in other occupations for which technical training is desirable. Also, research suggests that they generate economic gains by adding to the processes of industrial and business innovation. Such innovations tend to contribute to the future productivity gains of both citizen and immigrant workers, which results in a net increase in real wages. The high level of participation of foreign-born scientists and engineers in U.S. laboratories and classrooms warrants increased efforts to ensure that policies regarding their movement and activities are adequate and not unduly punitive.54 In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the subsequent anthrax incidents, some public officials became concerned that research universities in particular could be at heightened risk of terrorism, vandalism, and cyber attacks. As a result, there has been increased pressure on academic institutions to monitor the activities of foreign national students and scholars, and the government has imposed greater restrictions on obtaining visas for foreign-born scientists wishing to train or work in the United States. Policies, such as the USA PATRIOT Act and proposed increased restrictions through deemed exports, have placed new strains on universities that rely on foreign national students for much of their talent; that rely on a diverse student body as a key part of the education experience of students, faculty and scholars; and that rely on foreign national faculty and research scholars for their critical contributions. In the view of some, the current and proposed policies could unjustifiably stigmatize foreign national students by requiring them to wear special identification and to have special controls on access to laboratories. These policies run directly counter to the principle of 54 The National Academies. 2005. Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Students in the United States. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities nondiscrimination in universities, and there is no way to enforce them without creating a second-class status for these particular individuals.55 Moreover, “foreign students have taken on a different importance now,” said Suzanne Berger, MIT, at the committee’s May 2006 regional meeting. “The best companies today are those that have mastered operating in [a] fragmented world” where production, research, development, design, and distribution systems operate or are located in separate places or realms. “[Students/researchers] are going to have to access knowledge and capabilities outside their own organization’s boundaries, and they are going to have to coordinate and bring together knowledge and capabilities that are outside their own organization’s borders and outside their own country’s borders.”56 The impact of international scientists and engineers on U.S. industries, as measured by their presence, is considerable. Skilled immigrants are highly mobile, and one study concludes that most technology industries in which they are concentrated are fast-growing exporters and leading contributors to the nation’s economic growth.57 International scientists and engineers contribute actively to our economic growth, and additionally, while here as students, they contribute to the overall educational experience of U.S.-born students by providing them with a better appreciation and knowledge of the world. A 2005 Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy report stated the following: The participation of international graduate students and postdoctoral scholars is an important part of the research enterprise of the United States. In some fields they make up more than half the population of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. If their presence were substantially diminished, important research and teaching activities in academe, industry, and federal laboratories would be curtailed, 55 Judith Reppy. 2006. Remarks made to the Committee on a New Government-University Partnership for Science and Security Northeast Regional Meeting at MIT. May 16. Available at www7.nationalacademies.org/stl/032896.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2007. 56 Suzanne Berger. 2006. Remarks made to the Committee on a New Government-University Partnership for Science and Security Northeast Regional Meeting at MIT. May 16. Available at www7.nationalacademies.org/stl/032896.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2007. 57 A. L. Saxenian. 2001. Silicon Valley’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs (Working Paper No. 15). San Diego, CA: Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California. Available at www.ccis-ucsd.org/PUBLICATIONS/wrkg15.PDF. Accessed February 14, 2007.

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities particularly if universities did not give more attention to recruiting and retaining domestic students.58 Recent Trends in International Graduate-Student Enrollments Following the dramatic increases in international student enrollments in the 1980s and 1990s, enrollments showed a marked decrease following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Most institutions attributed these declines to visa denials and delays. For the year 2002, NSF noted a decrease in first-time, full-time science and engineering graduate enrollments among temporary residents, by about 8 percent for men and 1 percent for women.59 The Council of Graduate Schools has been tracking international graduate student application, admission, and enrollment data since 2003.60 Compared to 2003, it found a substantial decrease in international student applications for graduate study in U.S. institutions in 2004. These decreases were seen in all fields and for almost all countries. Concerns about these trends were expressed by many participants in the committee’s regional meetings, including Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough who remarked: Thirty years ago, the United States was conferring 54 percent of the world’s Ph.D. degrees, but by 2001 our share dropped worldwide to 41 percent. China, which was virtually offering no Ph.D.s as recently as 20 years ago, now produces 12 percent, and that is rising. Doctoral degree recipients in nations like India and China also have a growing range of opportunities for employment at home. As nations like these develop world-class universities and skilled work forces, high tech corporations pay attention, and they locate there because of the talent.61 58 Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy. 2005. Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States, p. 65. 59 National Science Foundation. 2004. Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering Fields Reaches New Peak; First-Time Enrollment of Foreign Students Declines (NSF 04-326). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. 60 Council of Graduate Schools. International Graduate Admissions Survey. Available at www.cgsnet.org/Default.aspx?tabid=172. Accessed February 14, 2007. 61 Wayne Clough. 2006. Remarks made at the Committee on a New Government-University Partnership for Science and Security Southeast Regional Meeting at the Georgia Institute of Technology. June 4. Available at www7.nationalacademies.org/stl/Partnership-6-6-06.pdf. Accessed February 15, 2007.

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities However, by 2006, the decreases had reversed course in all fields. After three consecutive years of decline, the Council of Graduate Schools reported an increase in total foreign enrollment of one percent in 2006, and the number of new foreign students increased by 12 percent, led by newly entering students from India and China.62 While the data do not indicate a full recovery, they do suggest that international students are still interested in studying in the United States, and that the recent policies enacted by the Departments of State and Homeland Security to streamline and shorten visa processing, as well as procedural changes in admissions and recruitment processes by educational institutions, have been effective, although some concerns remain about re-entry. In addition, in November 2006, the Department of State amended its regulations and extended the permitted program duration from three to five years for professor and researcher participants.63 These measures have gone a long way to reduce some of the early concerns about an apparently unwelcoming environment for international students and scholars after September 11, 2001. However, it may be too soon to tell if increasing competition for science and engineering students will continue to draw international students away from U.S. graduate education, or if increasing educational capacity abroad will affect the numbers of students applying for graduate study in the United States. Several participants at the regional meetings expressed continuing concerns about the ability of U.S. and international scholars to freely exchange information through meetings and conferences and to work with items on the Technology Alert List (TAL) (i.e., technologies with potential dual-use applications), which some believe to be too broad, inhibiting legitimate areas of scientific inquiry. They cautioned that the TAL has been stretched far beyond its original purpose of denying access to those who the government has reason to believe seek to violate export control laws. In addition, the discriminatory treatment of visiting faculty and scholars traveling to the United States for visits and conferences continues to be a concern among members of the scientific community. Finally, the research community expressed interest in the establishment of a nonimmigrant-visa subcategory for doctoral-level graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. (See Box 3A for current visa 62 Council of Graduate Schools. International Graduate Admissions Survey. Available at www.cgsnet.org/Default.aspx?tabid=172. Accessed February 14, 2007. 63 Department of State. 2006. Notice of effective date for implementation of five-year professor and research scholar exchange program. Federal Register. 71(211):64330.

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities types.) As indicated in a National Academies report, U.S. visa and immigration policies ought to provide consistent, clear procedures that do not unduly obstruct the flow of international graduate students and postdoctoral students. A new subcategory would “provide a better mechanism for …officials to track student and scholar visa applicants,” and would provide a “means for collecting clear data on numbers and trends of graduate-student and postdoctoral-scholar visa applicants.”64 BOX 3A Visas for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars Graduate students typically obtain an F or J visa to study in the United States. To apply, they must supply proof of acceptance at a United States institution and also provide evidence that their current intent is for further study and research, not to immigrate. Postdoctoral scholars use a variety of visas to train in the United States, with the majority using a J visa. A substantial proportion enter on H-1b visas; several other visa classes include O, TN, EA, F, B, G, WB, A, L, and PR. -- Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States. Summary and Recommendations The participation of international graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and research scholars is an integral element of the research enterprise of the United States. For example, in some fields these students, faculty, and scholars make up more than half of the populations of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Foreign students and scholars—both those who are here temporarily and those who remain here—provide the United States with an additional and important pool of talented individuals. Many foreign students and scholars who return to their home countries serve as ambassadors of goodwill, establishing close ties between the United States and their home countries, and they become important national leaders in their home countries. If their presence were substantially diminished, important research and teaching activities in academe, industry, and federal laboratories would be curtailed. Advancements made by other countries now offer foreign students the opportunity to receive a first-rate education and training in countries other than the United States—and the same is true for foreign faculty and researchers. Thus, if we drive them away, there is a double 64 The National Academies. 2005. Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities penalty, since we lose and our economic competitors and our potential future competitors gain. Although it is clear that earlier concerns about undue restrictions on the entry and activities of international students in U.S. research institutions have been allayed, the committee determined that ongoing oversight and policy changes are critical to ensure continued progress in this area. Regional meeting attendees told the committee that universities and the U.S. government should continue to encourage and welcome talented students and scholars from around the world. They noted that although progress has been made with respect to foreign students and scholars, much work is still needed on our policies and practices, which include encouraging the free movement of foreign students and scholars to scholarly/scientific conferences and meetings in the United States and elsewhere. At the end of the committee’s deliberations, Congress began focusing on immigration reform. The Committee is encouraged by congressional efforts that give serious consideration to policies that govern the flow of foreign scientists and engineers into the United States, such as proposals that would ease restrictions on foreign students pursuing scientific and technical degrees. Efforts such as this—coupled with congressional action to implement the recommendations of Rising Above the Gathering Storm that would increase the number of U.S. students who earn science and engineering degrees—could help the United States maintain its leadership position in science and engineering. Recommendation 5: Universities and the U.S. government should continue to encourage and welcome talented students and scholars from around the world. While progress has been made with respect to granting visas for foreign students and scholars, responsible parties must work to ensure that whenever possible policies and practices are in place that encourage the free movement of foreign students and scholars to scholarly/scientific conferences and to meetings in the United States and elsewhere. Recommendation 6: The research community and the federal government should continue to monitor the visa clearance process and address issues immediately should they arise. The Technology Alert List should be reviewed and streamlined to include areas of study that clearly have explicit implications for

OCR for page 49
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities national security. Additionally, Congress should consider creating a new nonimmigrant visa subcategory for doctoral-level graduate students and postdoctoral scholars coming to the United States. Student visas should be of a duration commensurate with the term of study. Recommendation 7: The Department of State, along with other federal agencies such as the Departments of Commerce and Labor, should determine whether students and scientists here on temporary visas should be allowed to extend their stay if they are working in a scientific or technical field deemed to be in demand in the United States.