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Brain drain of the scientific community of developing countries: the case of Sri Lanka


  • M U M Anas
  • Seetha I Wickremasinghe


Many Asian developing countries face an increasing drain of their scientific community as a current challenge. This study identifies the trends in Sri Lanka and investigates the nature and dynamics of the pull and push factors at play here and in host countries. We used the expatriate scientists' database of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka and a follow-up survey. A highest proportion of the expatriate scientists are in the USA, followed by Australia. The majority of respondents held postgraduate degrees; around 50% had doctoral degrees. ‘Further studies’ was the major reason for emigration, followed by better career prospects. Engineering was the most common specialization, followed by chemistry, agricultural sciences and microbiology/biotechnology/molecular biology. If their demands are adequately met, the majority of the expatriates were willing to return to Sri Lanka. The article discusses the relevance of policies adopted in other countries, such as India and China, for Sri Lanka. Copyright , Beech Tree Publishing.

Suggested Citation

  • M U M Anas & Seetha I Wickremasinghe, 2010. "Brain drain of the scientific community of developing countries: the case of Sri Lanka," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(5), pages 381-388, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:scippl:v:37:y:2010:i:5:p:381-388

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    Cited by:

    1. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2014. "Scientific mobility and knowledge networks in high emigration countries: Evidence from the Pacific," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1486-1495.

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