BSN at the Spring Forum for International Affairs, Finland
 
The rationales of researcher mobility in neighbouring areas were discussed in a session “From Brain Drain to Brain Circulation”. Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme funded project Baltic Science Network has surveyed the challenges and obstacles in researcher mobility in the Baltic Sea Region, and identified three alternative aims for researcher mobility.
 
The session was chaired by Riitta Mustonen. Tadas Juknevičius presented 10 major challenges, which hamper a more active mobility of researchers in the Baltic Sea Region. Readers interested in familiarising with the identified 10 issues are invited to read the Baltic Science Network Working Paper “Challenges to Researchers´ Mobility in the Baltic Sea Region. Among the speakers of the session was Susanna Sepponen. She discussed alternative options on how to tackle these challenges. Readers interested in familiarising with these options are encouraged to familiarise with the Baltic Science Network Working Paper “Researcher Mobility Tools in the Baltic Sea Region. Johanna Hakala engaged in the discussion with a comment from the financer’s point of view.
 
Brain drain as a topic provoked a broader debate. Some of the perspectives expressed during the session are worth highlighting to a wider audience of the Baltic Science Network. Bearing in mind the global context of people resettling from their countries of origin to other states of residence, is it even realistic to prevent brain drain? Brain drain can be a signal of the need for improvements in the home country. Tadas Juknevičius gave a good example from Lithuania, where research facilities and research conditions have been improved in order to counter brain drain.
 
Another perspective that emerged during the vibrant interaction among session´s attendants was that the world is nowadays global and everyone are connected. Thus, does the mere physical migration of people should viewed as a brain drain?
 
Good ways to improve brain circulation might be joint programmes among a grouping of countries. Top-down and bottom-up approaches could be combined in new tailored ways. The basis for the mobility should remain the aim of supporting high-quality research, where a top-down approach in the implementation of such multilateral incentives can help increasing a wider awareness about certain regions. A good example is the initiative of the Academy of Finland to raise awareness about the opportunities that China can offer. Similar approach could be adopted in the Baltic Sea Region.
 
The Spring Forum for International Affairs is a yearly event, which gathers the specialists working with internationalisation and mobility from Finnish higher education institutions. This year the event was organised on 17-18 May 2018 in Jyväskylä.
 
You can read more about Baltic Science Network and download the studies made by the project here.