About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2074-2080
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain

WAVES OF SCIENTIFIC MIGRANTS TO MEXICO: AN ANALYSIS AND DIAGNOSIS OF THE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL INNOVATORS

H. Castaños

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXICO)
Globalization means, among other things, a free-for-all among competing nations to attract top scientists and technologists. Many nations will offer attractive salaries and other incentives to tempt prospective research scientists. Mexico has not been a major player on this international brain market; public policies have been mainly designed to curb the “brain drain” toward the United States, not to encourage the immigration of foreign scientists. Mexico is apt to vaunt its tropical paradises in glossy magazines aimed at the tourist trade but scientists looking for a job are hardly likely to pay attention. Yet when it comes to attracting quality brains from abroad, Mexico is not doing badly at all. According to our findings, Mexican universities are thriving on imported brainpower at least since the early 1940’s. What is the secret?
Mexico has a well-earned reputation for refugee-friendly policies. Important institutions of higher learning such as the Colegio de México were actually founded by refugees. With a population of about 110 million Mexico has become a budding world power: its major universities entice a new breed of adventurous young scientists to settle in Mexico. Our research was based on free-form interviews to more than 100 foreign-born members of the Mexican scientific community, in order to find out how this process works. We focused on the following question: How and why do scientists migrate to Mexico in waves?
History is part of the answer. In the 1930’s Mexico was emerging from a bloody revolutionary war. With the support of the Spanish Republic, the nation was admitted to membership in the League of Nations. In gratitude, President Lázaro Cárdenas sided with the Republic in the Spanish Civil War. The Republican cause was defeated and about 25,000 Spanish refugees were admitted to Mexico; at least 6,000 were intellectuals and scientists. Three decades later another wave of political refugees proceeding from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay was welcomed to Mexico. A third wave originated in Eastern Europe where political change had created an upheaval in the economy. In every case, Mexican universities offered jobs and other incentives.
Unexpectedly, our investigation discovered a fourth and more recent wave of scientific immigrants. Quietly, researchers from many countries were fleeing a post-industrial cultural blight in their home countries. They eagerly competed for positions in Mexican educational institutions. Successful applicants were rewarded with membership in Mexico’s National Researchers’ System (SNI), an elite of more than 16,000 researchers selected by peer review and eligible for government grants. Jobs and opportunities for advancement were better than those available at home.
What did they find in Mexico? The budding Mexican scientific community was based almost exclusively on a handful of large universities. Young researchers were receptive to new ideas. Those were people the migrants might have met as post-docs or at international scientific meetings. In short, Mexico offered the migrants a competitive, challenging scientific environment: a unique mix of exotic charm and comfortable standards of living, and a great opportunity for personal development.
@InProceedings{CASTANOS2013WAV,
author = {Casta{\~n}os, H.},
title = {WAVES OF SCIENTIFIC MIGRANTS TO MEXICO: AN ANALYSIS AND DIAGNOSIS OF THE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL INNOVATORS},
series = {7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-2661-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {4-5 March, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {2074-2080}}
TY - CONF
AU - H. Castaños
TI - WAVES OF SCIENTIFIC MIGRANTS TO MEXICO: AN ANALYSIS AND DIAGNOSIS OF THE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL INNOVATORS
SN - 978-84-616-2661-8/2340-1079
PY - 2013
Y1 - 4-5 March, 2013
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2013 Proceedings
SP - 2074
EP - 2080
ER -
H. Castaños (2013) WAVES OF SCIENTIFIC MIGRANTS TO MEXICO: AN ANALYSIS AND DIAGNOSIS OF THE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL INNOVATORS, INTED2013 Proceedings, pp. 2074-2080.
User:
Pass: