Scientists fear 'brain drain' during Donald Trump presidency: Survey

Scientists fear 'brain drain' during Donald Trump presidency: Survey

Washington, Nov 12 (PTI) Following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th US President, scientists fear a spark of 'brain drain' as foreign-born researchers educated in American universities will be more likely to leave, according to a new survey.

A survey of over 1,600 professionals, from industry and academia, showed that Trump's presidency is expected negatively impact research funding as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The largest majority, 57.11 percent, believe that the president-elect will hurt research funding. About 24 percent said it would not make a difference, and only 9.79 percent said Trump's presidency would prove positive.

According to the survey by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN), about 51.74 percent, believe that STEM education will not be a priority under the Trump administration.

"The biotechnology industry faces the possibility of a brain drain, and this is most alarming," said Mary Ann Liebert, founder and CEO of GEN.

About 46.78 percent of the respondents said they believed that foreign-born scientists who have been educated in the US will be more likely to leave during a Trump presidency.

"The biotechnology community, like many others, was not prepared for a Trump victory; they must be on high alert to assure that one of this country's premier enterprises will not be compromised," Liebert said.

"In general, scientists are not political activists by nature, and this has to change," she said.

A large plurality (49.81 per cent) opined that overseas researchers will still seek academic positions or jobs in the US biotech industry.

While Trump has proposed allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices as a means of lowering ever-rising prescription drug prices, close to half of respondents doubt that the president-elect will seek to contain those prices once he is sworn into office.

Only 23.01 percent think Trump will do so, while twice that percentage (46.59 percent) believe he would not.

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