Dutch universities rely on foreign academics
28 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch universities are reporting a heavy reliance on foreign academics, with figures indicating that 20 percent of researchers come from outside of the Netherlands.
The number of foreigners is especially high among younger researchers, including doctoral students. Eindhoven Technical University, for example, estimates that 75 percent of its young academics are foreigners.
Figures published Monday by the Leiden-based study centre Research voor Beleid found that Dutch universities and companies are finding it difficult obtaining a sufficient amount of home-grown talent. The shortfall is being filled by recruiting internationally.
The research centre said 62 percent of foreign knowledge workers in the Netherlands come from other European countries. Asia is in second place with 26 percent and just 8 percent of foreign academics in the Netherlands originate from the US.
Some 90 percent of foreign researchers at Dutch universities are younger than 40 and a large majority intend to leave the Netherlands again within five years, newspaper Trouw reported on Monday.
In general, once doctoral students graduate in the Netherlands, they head elsewhere to start work. This means that the knowledge they built up in the Netherlands is by and large lost to the Dutch economy.
Research voor Beleid said hard questions had to be asked about the retention rate. Dutch university posts are filled by older workers, but these should be replaced by young researchers, the research centre said.
In contrast though, young foreign researchers are not waiting in the Netherlands to be appointed to a permanent opposition and instead move elsewhere.
The technology universities in Delft, Eindhoven and Twente have the highest ratio of foreigners. On average, 32 percent of academic staff are expats. That figure falls to an average of 16 percent at general universities, varying from 14 percent in Groningen to 22 percent in Maastricht.
The Dutch government is keen to attract knowledge workers to the Netherlands, but entry procedures remain complicated and expensive, Trouw reported.
A system involving one point of contact for skilled expat visas — replacing the need for work permits with a five-year residence permit — was launched in October 2004, but universities and companies claim the situation has not improved.
Involved organisations — joined together at the Association of Universities (VSNU) — were launching later on Monday a new information network for foreign researchers.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news