Researches indicate that, since the 2000s, there has been an increase in the migration of highly qualified Brazilians. These professionals, especially those working in the fields of science, technology and innovation (STI) are called the “Scientific Diaspora”.
The Scientific Diaspora includes scientists and researchers in universities, research institutes, hospitals, companies and government institutions, as well as entrepreneurs and managers working with innovation in a foreign country.
According to OECD data, although Brazil does not represent a large contingent of international migrants in absolute numbers in comparison to other countries, it has one of the highest rates of highly qualified migrants, with a proportion of almost 30% of all these professionals living in OECD countries (2010). Additional data from Brazil regarding definitive departures indicate that this number may have increased in the last decade.
Nowadays, with an increasingly globalized world, marked by fast and easy international mobility, neither emigration nor return can been understood as definitive situations, but rather as a circulation through the networks formed between the professionals in various countries (“brain networking”), especially in the fields of science, technology and innovation. This represents a change from the previous approach, that saw the outflow of highly qualified individuals from a country as a “definitive loss” (“brain drain”), and a move towards another perspective in which emigration is perceived as circular (“brain circulation”).
From the perspective of the home countries, efforts have been made to re-establish ties with the members of the Scientific Diaspora, connecting these talents and leveraging national STI systems. The idea is to value the Scientific Diaspora abroad as an important tool for members of the Brazilian STI system to connect with international partners.
In this context, the Brazilian Scientists in Central Europe was launched, comprising Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia.
To better understand the profile of the Brazilian scientific community in these countries, the Embassy of Brazil in Vienna, in collaboration with the Embassy of Brazil in Bratislava and the Embassy of Brazil in Ljubljana, is mapping the Brazilian scientific diaspora. This initiative will allow for improved dialogue between the Embassies and this community and may serve as the starting point for further organization of the diaspora.
Through the mobilization and intensified connection of the scientific diaspora, new opportunities for partnerships and joint projects between Brazil and these countries can be achieved. Through their masterful work and integration in the local science and innovation ecosystems, Brazilian professionals may also contribute for the development of their home country.