Book Chapter

Globalisation challenges and knowledge transfer from the Indian scientific diaspora

This chapter looks at the opportunities and uncertainties of globalisation in terms of the production of world knowledge, with an emphasis on the factors that limit the distribution and fair use of this knowledge for the benefit of less advanced countries. We show how existing disparities between developed countries and emerging and developing countries relating to the level of higher education, the resources available for research and access to technologies and innovation, have made scientific cooperation an indispensable mechanism for advancement. Having established this context, we then turn our attention to the transfer of knowledge for the benefit of developing countries, as promoted by the scientific diaspora. Taking the case of India and its relationship with Europe as an example, we present a qualitative analysis based on interviews held with Indian students and researchers who are either living in Europe or who have returned to India, together with interviews with some other key informants. India is a paradigmatic case in terms of knowledge, science and technology insofar as the country is a source of skilled personnel for many developed countries, including the European countries that have become popular as new destinations for skilled Indians. We look at three determinants for channelling knowledge transfer: institutional mechanisms for bilateral cooperation, transnational collaboration and the affective capital of migrants. We observe how these channels foster scientific cooperation and strengthen the critical mass in the country of origin. While our findings point to a trend whereby scientific diasporas become carriers of knowledge for their countries of origin in the South, there is a need for further studies to examine the specific level of impact that these forms of knowledge transfer generate in the Indian context and to see whether the local society obtains actual benefits from them.

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