Brain Drain, Brain Gain, Brain Return and Circulation: is Brain Drain Over?

Jacques Gaillard, Institut pour la Recherche et le Développement (IRD, París) y Anne Marie Gaillard (Consultora)
Thursday, 5 November 2015 - 12:00

This seminar will include two successive presentations. The first one will review recent trends in international scientific migration focusing on return from migration and circulation. The second one will present and discuss the specific case of return migration of highly skilled Moroccan scientists and Engineers.


Brain Drain, Brain Gain, Brain Return and Circulation: is Brain Drain Over?

by Jacques Gaillard

This presentation intends to review recent trends in international scientific migration since the publication of a special issue of the Science, Technology & Society (STS) journal in 1997 (« International Mobility of Brains in Science and Technology in 1997 (Vol. 2 n° 3, July-December 1997).

Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, the brain drain issue has been re-emerging in a changing context marked by a return of highly skilled people and scientists to a number of countries, new flows of well educated scientists, and renewed or new modes of scientific collaboration which do not necessarily require translocation. Two important options have been extensively analysed and discussed in the 1997 special issue using, among others, case studies from Argentina, Colombia, India, South Africa, South Korea and Uruguay: the return and the S&T diaspora options.

The last two decades were also characterized by an increasing denationalisation, trans-nationalization and privatisation of scientific and technological activities implying radical changes in professional values and models notably with regard to collaboration, mobility and exchange of information. Participation in international specialized research and knowledge networks involving different innovation stakeholders in scientific and industrial environments has also increased making national networks less attractive.

The main focus of this presentation will be on 'brain return and circulation' using mainly country case studies (Argentina, China, India, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain) to be published in a forthcoming special issue of the STS journal under the title “Return from Migration and circulation: is brain drain over?”.


Return migration of highly skilled scientists and engineers to Morocco: return or circulation?

By Anne-Marie Gaillard

The qualification level of the emigrating Moroccans rose steadily in the 1990s, and especially since the year 2000. At present, an estimated 20% of the highly qualified Moroccans live abroad. Student migration, which accounts for a large part of this 20%, is contributing substantially to keeping this level high. For the last 20 years Morocco has been testing actions to mobilise and reconnect its S&T diaspora. The related special programmes and institutions are discussed and analysed in this article. Results are mixed, especially if measured against the original goals and the high expectations of the MREs (Marocains Résidant à l’Etranger: Moroccans living abroad). In response to these weaknesses and criticisms, proposals for institutional reorganisation and programme revisions have recently been put forth, or tested, but it is too early to evaluate the outcome.

In addition to presenting and discussing the above mentioned issues, this seminar will also present the results of interviews conducted in Morocco and in Europe with scientists who returned to their country or were part of the diaspora living in Europe. These interviews indicate a very strong desire to participate in the development of Morocco, but also highlight inhibiting factors inherent in the public higher education and research. The international mobility of the interviewees was a constant but not all of them thought that Morocco would be their final landing place. Many are the forerunners in a new type of mobility scheme that will contribute, (together with the reform measures that Morocco will have to adopt) to making the Moroccan national research system attractive as well to Moroccan as foreign scientists for all or part of their professional career.


Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Aprende. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n

Short CV: 

Anne-Marie Gaillard. Anne-Marie Gaillard has a PhD in social anthropology and ethnology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France. Her field work in Chile (for her PhD thesis) on the return of forced migration (refugees) made her interest shifting to the mobility of high qualified human resources and the challenge of repatriation of scientists and technologists into developing countries. She is a specialist of international migration, refugee issues, high education and mobility of S&T human resources. She participated in several projects for the European Commission and the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in the field of international scientific collaboration and mobility (first between Latin America and Europe and then between the Mediterranean countries and Europe). She published several papers on the process of integration and return of migrants as well as a book on repatriation of refugees: “Exils et retours, itinéraires chiliens” (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997). Her work in the field of the mobility of the highly qualified human resources in science an technology derived in publication of numerous papers and in a book co-authored with Jacques Gaillard  “Les enjeux des migrations scientifiques internationales. De la quête du savoir à la circulation des compétences” (Paris, L’Harmattan, 1999). Besides she has been doing consulting missions for OECD UNESCO and the European Union on the subject of international mobility of highly qualified people.

Jacques Gaillard. Former deputy and acting director of the International Foundation for Science (IFS) in Stockholm, Sweden, and former director of the Office of Policy and Coordination of the Department of Technical Cooperation at the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA), Jacques Gaillard is at present senior researcher at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in Paris, France. A trained agricultural engineer with a PhD in Science, Technology and Society (STS), his main areas of interest and expertise are science, technology & innovation policies and indicators, evaluation and impact Studies; comparative analysis of international S&T cooperation policies for sustainable development and environment; international S&T migration. His most recently published books are: Scientific Communities in the Developing World, 1997. New Delhi: SAGE India (in collaboration with V.V. Krishna & R. Waast); La coopération scientifique et technique avec les Pays du Sud. Peut-on partager la science ?  1999. Paris : Karthala, collection "Hommes et Sociétés"; Les enjeux des migrations scientifiques internationales. De la quête du savoir à la circulation des compétences. 1999. Paris: L'Harmattan (in collaboration with A-M Gaillard). Research Collaboration between Europe and Latin America. 2014. Paris: éditions des archives contemporaines.