Polonium Foundation report on Polish intellectual diaspora

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We are pleased to announce that the report by the Polonium Foundation, “Beyond recognition: Polish scientific diaspora as a source of social capital,” has now been released. It was created in cooperation with the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) and the Polish Society of Arts and Sciences Abroad (PTNO).

The report was prepared on the basis of a survey of 464 Polish scientists from 31 countries around the world, including such locations as Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. The aim of the study was to gather information and opinions on the Polish scientific diaspora, their relations with the Polish scientific community, and their prospects for returning to Poland.

The data were collected in 2017–2018. The questions covered such issues as plans to return to Poland, networks of contacts, perceptions of the Polish scientific community, and opportunities for scientific career growth in Poland.

The study found that 46.8% of Polish scientists working abroad have no intention of returning to Poland, while 27.1% are considering returning and 25.6% are undecided.

Among the respondents, non-scientific considerations prevailed in their attitude toward returning to Poland, with 66.9% giving non-professional advantages, such as the opportunity to reside in their country of origin, as reasons for returning. The respondents also mentioned the opportunity to exert a positive influence on Polish science (53.6%), the desire to share with scientists in Poland their knowledge gained abroad (42.3%), and the wish to establish a research team and conduct research in Poland (33.1%).

Among the scientists who prefer to remain abroad, over half (52.2%) declared that they nonetheless “benefit” from contacts with researchers from Poland, but in most cases these contacts were formed when the respondent was still living in Poland (75.5%), or during joint work (46.8%) or scientific conferences (27.5%). Only 5.7% of respondents declared that they are actively seeking new contacts with scientists in Poland.

The full report is available at the Polonium Foundation website: link

Pictured: participants in the conference “Science: Polish Perspectives” at Oxford, 2017. Photo: Natalia Kobylińska