La gran carrera en pos de los cerebros

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Durante decenios, las universidades dedicadas a la investigación en los Estados Unidos han estado reconocidas universalmente como las mas avanzadas del mundo en ciencia e ingeniería, no superadas desde la segunda guerra mundial por el volumen y la excelencia del saber y la innovación que producen, pero hay señales en aumento de que el resto del mundo está ganando terreno rápidamente: construyendo nuevas universidades, mejorando las existentes, compitiendo denodadamente por los mejores estudiantes y reclutando a doctorados formados en los EE.UU. para que regresen a su país y trabajen en la Universidad y en laboratorios industriales. ¿Está dando un vuelco la jerarquía del saber internacional?

No cabe duda de que la empresa académica ha pasado a ser cada vez más mundial, en particular en las ciencias. Casi tres millones de estudiantes estudian ahora fuera de sus países: un aumento del 57 por ciento en el último decenio. Los estudiantes extranjeros predominan ahora en muchos de los programas de doctorado de los EE.UU., pues representan el 64 por ciento de los doctorados en informática, por ejemplo. Las Universidades de Tsingua y Pekín juntas superaron recientemente a Berkeley como puntos de origen principales de estudiantes que continúan sus estudios de doctorado en los Estados Unidos.

Los profesores también están en movimiento. La mitad de los físicos principales del mundo ya no trabajan en sus países de origen e instituciones de la mayor importancia como la Universidad de Nueva York y la Universidad de Nottingham están creando facultades filiales en Oriente Medio y Asia. Ahora hay 162 facultades satélites a escala mundial, un aumento del 43 por ciento en tan sólo los tres últimos años.

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