International academics and researchers at public universities and research institutes in major host countries

The data situation on international academics and researchers at the respective host universities abroad is significantly less conclusive than that relating to international students. To date, there are no internationally comparable UNESCO or OECD statistics on this subject similar to those on global student mobility. This may primarily be explained by the fact that, in many countries, data on international university staff are not sufficiently differentiated (e.g. with respect to their countries of origin). The only exception are international doctoral students as they are included in the student statistics of most countries.

To obtain a more comprehensive picture of the mobility of academics and researchers than is possible with the data on international doctoral students worldwide alone, research was conducted on (contractually employed) international academic staff at public universities and research institutes in major host countries as part of the Wissenschaft weltoffen project. When comparing these national data, it should be noted that the definitions of academic staff and/or that of the universities and research institutes concerned differ from country to country. As far as possible, the aim of this data collection was to document contractually employed, full-time, international academic staff.

Looking at the 16 host countries for which data were collected, the US turns out to be the key host country by a clear margin, with around 136,600 international academics and researchers at US universities. It is followed by the United Kingdom (67,600), Germany (51,100), Switzerland (30,000) and France (14,800). Particularly striking here is the low number of international researchers in France by direct comparison with Germany, although here – as in Germany – academic staff at non-university research institutes were also included. The language may represent a higher obstacle for recruiting international academic staff in France than in Germany and other countries where, for example, English is often the dominant working language in scientific disciplines.

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