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Mobility: could the pandemic stem brain drain?

Covid-19 has grounded researchers and boosted countries’ retention of homegrown talent—but maybe only temporarily

Covid-19 has blown holes in many academics’ plans to live abroad, hobbling physical mobility while prompting unprecedented levels of virtual connection. With more researchers working from home, could the pandemic staunch the long-standing and problematic outflow of academics from nations with less-developed R&D landscapes?

Aune Valk is vice-rector of academic affairs at the University of Tartu in Estonia, a country that has struggled to curtail brain drain in the past. She says the pandemic has caused some researchers to choose not to leave the country; instead, they have opted to carry out work for foreign institutes from inside Estonia. “We see this opportunity exists now that didn’t before.”

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