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Opportunities for Advantage: Maintaining a Strong “Stay Rate” in the U.S. for International STEM PhD Graduates

Center for Security and Emerging Technology) (CSET) is one of the best policy research organizations that we track and analyze. They pursue bleeding edge subject matter, always take a fresh angle, and deliver really legible, actionable insights.  The CSET Policy Brief from July of 2021 AI Accidents: An Emerging Threat influenced our thinking on the future governance and potential regulation of the unintended consequences of artificial intelligence.  And their two-part AI and the Future of Disinformation Campaigns in December of last year contributed to our research and analysis of dis- misinformation, information disorder, and what we characterize as a crucial strategic need for National Cognitive Infrastructure Protection.

Amidst this coverage of exponential technologies and cognitive infrastructure, it is easy to take a purely technology-based perspective and neglect the human factor and the role of trained talent and future innovators in building the technology and platforms to solve the most pressing problems and address these ongoing threats.  The human factor is also a national security issue, as access to and the training of a future generation of STEM talent is a centerpiece of our analysis of the Russian and Chinese use of human targeting to achieve security advantage in key emerging technologies by 2030 and Taiwan’s Five-year Quantum Computing and Talent Initiative.

A recent CSET Issue Brief reminds us of the national security issues surrounding the creation of innovative courses of study and the retention of STEM talent in the domestic U.S.:

“One of the United States’ greatest advantages in attracting STEM talent is the strength of its higher education system. U.S. universities remain a top destination for students around the world, particularly at the graduate level. International students accounted for more than 40 percent of the roughly 500,000 doctoral degrees awarded by U.S. universities between 2000 and 2019. Those who stay in the country after receiving their degrees strengthen the domestic STEM workforce and make valuable contributions to the economy and society.”

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.