​International Careers of Researchers in Biomedical Sciences: A Comparison of the US and the UK

Forthcoming in Geuna A. (ed.) Global Mobility of Research Scientists. The Economics of who goes where and why. Academy Press, 2015.

56 Pages Posted: 25 May 2015

See all articles by Cornelia Lawson

Cornelia Lawson

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School

Aldo Geuna

University of Torino - Department Cultures, Politics and Society

Ana Fernandez-Zubieta

Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA)

Rodrigo Kataishi

University of Turin - Department of Economics S. Cognetti de Martiis

Manuel Toselli

University of Turin - Department of Economics S. Cognetti de Martiis

Date Written: March 2, 2015

Abstract

​This chapter analyses the mobility of academic biomedical researchers in the US and the UK. Both countries are at the forefront of research in biomedicine, and able to attract promising researchers from other countries as well as fostering mobility between the US and the UK. Using a database of 292 UK based academics and 327 US based academics covering the period 1956 to 2012, the descriptive analysis shows a high level of international mobility at education level (BA, PhD and Postdoc) with small, but significant transatlantic exchanges, and shows high levels of cross-border mobility amongst senior academics based in the UK. There is a high level of career mobility with 50% of the sample having changed jobs at least once, and 40% having moved within academia. There is no significant difference in job-job mobility between the two countries although there are some interesting institutional differences concerning international and cross-sector mobility. The empirical analysis focuses on the importance of postdoctoral training in the US and the UK. The results indicate that working in the US is correlated to higher researcher performance in terms of both publication numbers and impact/quality adjusted publications (in top journals and average impact). The publications of researchers with postdoctoral experience are generally of a higher average impact. This applies especially to postdoc experience at top-quality US institutions although a postdoc at a UK top institution is associated with higher top journal publications and higher average impact. In relation to the UK sample, we find that a US postdoc (especially in a top institution) is correlated to subsequent performance in the UK academic market. Finally, we see that US postdocs that stay in the US publish more and publications with higher impact/quality than those that move to the UK; however, these effects are stronger for those who studied for their PhD degree outside the US. Therefore, we find some evidence that the US is able to retain high performing incoming PhD graduates.

Keywords: International mobility, academic career, academic labor market, research productivity, postdoc, biomedical

JEL Classification: O31, I23, J24

Suggested Citation

Lawson, Cornelia and Geuna, Aldo and Fernandez-Zubieta, Ana and Kataishi, Rodrigo and Toselli, Manuel, ​International Careers of Researchers in Biomedical Sciences: A Comparison of the US and the UK (March 2, 2015). Forthcoming in Geuna A. (ed.) Global Mobility of Research Scientists. The Economics of who goes where and why. Academy Press, 2015. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2609014 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2609014

Cornelia Lawson

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

Aldo Geuna (Contact Author)

University of Torino - Department Cultures, Politics and Society ( email )

Lungo Dora Siena 100 A
Torino, 10153
Italy

Ana Fernandez-Zubieta

Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA) ( email )

C/ Campo Santo de los Mártires, 7
Córdoba, Córdoba 14004
Spain

Rodrigo Kataishi

University of Turin - Department of Economics S. Cognetti de Martiis ( email )

Via Po' 53
Torino, 10124
Italy

Manuel Toselli

University of Turin - Department of Economics S. Cognetti de Martiis ( email )

Via Po' 53
Torino, 10124
Italy

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