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A recipe for scientists to return: create contacts

State scheme to lure academics back from abroad does not seem to be efficient. But there are other ways to intensify cooperation with them.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: Sme - Gabriel Kuchta)

ERC Starting grants are designed to support outstanding researchers willing to start the development of their independent career. Even though there are also several Slovaks who have successfully applied for the grants, none of them is working at a Slovak university.

Even though cooperation with such scientists can benefit the schools, no Slovak universities has addressed Slovaks who have succeeded in receiving the grant, as one of them told To Dá Rozum (Learning Makes Sense) non-governmental organisation in a questionnaire.

Read also:Poll: Slovak scientists abroad are not keen on returning to Slovakia

Similar collaborations can serve as one way of creating contacts between scientists abroad and Slovakia. The contacts between them and Slovak schools can later help create an opportunity for them to return to the country, the organisation’s representatives opine.

“When there is already a contact, there is a much bigger potential for them to return in the future,” said Stanislav Lukáč of To Dá Rozum.

Differences between generations

Most university teachers and scientists who are currently active abroad did not leave Slovakia with the intention of staying there, as stems from an extensive survey carried out by To Dá Rozum between May and June 2018 on 197 respondents aged 24-66 years, who are currently active in 21 countries. The most respondents are in the Czech Republic, the US, the UK, Germany, and Austria.

Read more: What hinders academics from returning? How can universities collaborate with Slovak academics active abroad? How can be the survey results used?

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