Link here. In China’s recent push to build big science facilities, such as the giant radio telescope FAST, it has faced a shortage of qualified homegrown Chinese scientists to run those new facilities.
To solve this problem, China is now offering big bucks to any scientist, even foreigners, willing to move to China.
On 22 May, the Ministry of Science and Technology issued guidelines that encourage science ministries and commissions to consult foreign experts and attract non-Chinese to full-time positions within China. In a striking change, foreign scientists are now allowed to lead public research projects.
In the past decade, China has aimed to build up its scientific capacity by luring back some of the tens of thousands of Chinese scientists working abroad. The latest measures emphasize that non-Chinese talent is also welcome. Drafted in December 2017 but not previously made public, they are “a confirmation of things that have been going on for a while,” says Denis Simon, an expert on China’s science policy at Duke Kunshan University in China, a branch campus of the Durham, North Carolina–based Duke University.
Simon says foreign scientists are drawn by China’s increased spending on R&D, which is rising twice as fast as its economic growth. Increasingly ambitious big science projects, such as a massive particle accelerator now under study, are a lure as well, says Cao Cong, a science policy specialist at the University of Nottingham Ningbo in China, an affiliate of the U.K. university. The opportunity for foreign scientists to serve as principal investigators for publicly funded programs is a significant new incentive, says Liang Zheng, who studies science and technology policy at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Of course, moving to a nation ruled under totalitarian communist rule has its drawbacks:
Relocating to China comes with challenges. Gibson teaches in English but needs Chinese language help handling administrative matters and grant applications. Restricted access to internet sites such as Google is also a hurdle. “My research and my teaching regularly rely on access to online resources and search platforms [that are] blocked in China, so this is an impediment to my work,” Gibson says. But he has found workarounds. China shut down many virtual private networks, which provide access to blocked overseas sites, but a few remain. “There’s a saying: ‘Everything in China is difficult, but nothing is impossible,’ which I think reflects the situation very accurately,” Gibson says.
I would also expect that any American who makes this move will face significant security problems with the U.S. government upon their return.
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