Seeon, Germany (September 6, 2012) — Higher education leaders from 15 countries agreed today on a set of principles to guide the preparation of graduate students for the demands of the global workforce and economy.
The statement was released following the Sixth Annual Strategic Leaders Global Summit, “From Brain Drain to Brain Circulation: Graduate Education for Global Career Pathways,” jointly hosted by the U.S.-based Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Technische Universität München. The Global Summit is an annual event designed to promote international best practices on current issues in master’s and doctoral education.
This 2012 summit re-examined the concept of “brain drain” in light of several global trends:
Session topics addressed new patterns of talent mobility by country and region, new opportunities for students to develop global skills, and collaborations between international universities that prepare students for the global workforce.
Professor Ernst Rank, Director of the TUM Graduate School and the International Graduate School of Science and Engineering, explained: "In the past and to a large extent still today, many countries have seen themselves either on the side of brain gain or brain drain. The global summit clearly showed that these categories can no longer simply be associated with 'winning' or 'losing' talents. On the contrary, the globalized scientific and economic community demands circulation of brains — that is, mobility in networks, openness for exchange, and flow of minds and ideas."
In the final session, participants discussed key issues that emerged in the forum and developed a consensus statement to guide future action. The “Principles for Supporting Global Careers in Graduate Education” include integrating international experience into graduate degree programs, defining high-level global skills, and collaborating with external partners to stimulate multi-directional flows of knowledge workers.
CGS President Debra Stewart noted, “The principles will help advance the global conversation about a key priority for graduate schools—helping students and new researchers make the transition to successful careers. But they also take us into important new territory, providing guidelines that will help universities prepare future researchers to understand the global possibilities and impacts of their professional lives.”
The 34 participants included deans and other leaders of graduate schools and representatives of national and international associations devoted to graduate education. Along with Germany and the United States, the countries represented were: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China (PRC and Hong Kong), Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, and South Korea.
The consensus statement is attached. A proceedings volume will be published in 2013.
Today’s doctoral and master’s students will enter and lead a rapidly globalizing economy and research enterprise. In a world where technology and research offer new opportunities for global collaboration, all early-stage researchers must be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a globalizing workforce. The participants of the 2012 Global Summit on Graduate Education encourage ‘brain circulation,’ or the multi-directional flow of talents, education and research that benefit multiple countries and regions and the advancement of global knowledge. It is the responsibility of graduate schools to match expectations for doctoral and master’s students and faculty training with opportunities and incentives.
At the same time, a productive discussion of “brain drain” and “brain circulation” requires careful examination of terms, assumptions, and values. Graduate leaders recognized the need to distinguish between a short-term and a long-term perspective on the global mobility of talent. While it is useful to track short-term patterns of student mobility, it is also important to understand long-term impacts of mobility on individuals, national and global economies, and global research and development.
In this context, it is important for universities and graduate schools to:
Identify specific global competencies within and across degree programs. As they prepare future knowledge leaders, faculty and researchers have an important role to play in identifying these competencies by degree type and across fields of study, and across sectors.
Prepare students and faculty to use emerging technologies to advance and share knowledge globally. New technologies are essential to research collaboration and management, communication, and networking.
Prepare graduate students for ethical issues that emerge in a globalizing workforce. At stake in this preparation is human health and safety, the protection of the environment, and the quality of research.
Assess and share the outcomes of global experiences and partnerships. Assessments of institutional benefits, research outcomes, and learning are essential and will be most meaningful if designed to improve the quality of programs. It is critical to differentiate desired outcomes for different career pathways, e.g. in academia, industry, government and non-profit sectors.
Collaborate with external partners in government, industry, professional societies, and non-governmental (NGO) sectors to facilitate multi-directional talent flows. In particular, universities have an important role to play in communicating the impact of policies regarding, for example, immigration and professional credentials, on research productivity, national and regional economies, and on individual career trajectories.
Encourage funding agencies to allocate funding for international research experience and global competency training for PhD candidates.
* The definition of the term “graduate” varies by country and region. In the context of this statement, it designates master’s and doctoral education.
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 77% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.
* Based on data from the 2010 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees
About Technische Universität München
TUM is one of Europe's leading universities. It has roughly 480 professors, 9000 academic and non-academic staff, and 31,000 students. It focuses on the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, medicine, and economic sciences. After winning numerous awards, it was selected as an "Elite University" in 2006 and 2012 by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The university's global network includes an outpost with a research campus in Singapore. TUM is dedicated to the ideal of a top-level research-based entrepreneurial university. The TUM Graduate School promotes interdisciplinary and international qualification programs so that at the end of the doctoral program, candidates will not only have team leadership and project management skills, but also the entrepreneurial spirit for leading roles in industry, academia, and science.
As the national advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. Based in Washington, DC, the organization provides its members with regular updates and analyses of legislative and regulatory proposals and policies that affect graduate education.
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