Brain drain reversal requires counter-intuitive support measures

Reversing the brain drain from Eastern Europe may require a bit of counter-intuitive intervention. Instead of supporting the best brains from Eastern Europe to work in Western Europe, why not do the opposite? In this opinion piece, Gergely Buday, an academic in Eastern Hungary, shares his views on the best use of European funding to build expertise on the regions that need it most in Europe.

What does it take for brain drain reversal initiatives to be effective?

After the fall of the iron curtain 25 years ago, many scientists left Eastern Europe. The exodus peaked early in the 1990s. Yet, new emigration flows stemmed from the 2004 EU enlargement to ten countries including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Further emigration arose as Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007.

Case study of brain drain from Spain to Germany: a reversible process?

The first time that I travelled to Germany was in the Spring of 2004. A few years before the actual financial crisis started. For this trip, I mainly packed three things in my suitcase: a degree in chemistry, several books to refresh my German and the need to see the world with my own eyes. One month later, I returned to Spain with some extra luggage: a climatic and cultural shock, the confirmation that my German was not as good as expected and an offer letter to do a PhD at the Technical University in Berlin.