#EURegionsWeek UNIVERSITY: Global Talents, Immigration Policy and Regional Innovation
The “Global talents, immigration policy and regional innovation” session was organised during the EU regions week, University sessions in Brussels, on 9 October. Approximately 60-70 people attended. The session started out with a question using slido, where the audience were asked to answer the statement “Global talents are a source of economic growth and innovation in my region”, 29 answered and the majority of attendees (21) answered that they agree or strongly agree while only three disagreed completely or in part. The first half of the session was organised with the panellists introducing the main topics based on their research. Dr. Ernest Miguelez, research fellow at the CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, attached to the University of Bordeaux, gave an overview of “the broader picture” of high-skilled migration in European countries and regions. Dr. Andrea Morrison, associate professor at Utrecht University and Marie Curie fellow at Bocconi University introduced how and why migrants can be regarded as carriers of knowledge, by emphasising the role of European migrant inventors in the US during the nineteen century. Dr. Cornelia Lawson, associate professor at the University of Manchester, presented her work on mobility, and knowledge exchange patterns of native and foreign-born academics. Finally, Dr. Marte C.W. Solheim, associate professor and head of the Stavanger Centre for Innovation Research at the University of Stavanger, presented her work on diversity and firm-level innovation. The first part of the session lasted approximately 50 minutes. We then turned to slido for poll and questions from the audience. We had two more polls, in short we first asked if migrants compete with natives in local labour markets (27 out of 31 disagreed) and we also asked the most important actions to attract global talents to Europe (among other things mentioned: incentive, opportunities, harmonization, openness, welcoming). The session received several questions from the audience, both through the app (9 questions) and in person from the audience.
Key conclusions: The session provided a broad overview of the relationship between high skilled migrants and innovation.
Take away message
Highly skilled migrants (HSM) represent a growing component of migration flows. In particular patent inventors and academics represent important contributors to innovation in destination countries. Migration, by increasing the diversity of the workforce, is also an important determinant of innovation in firms, regions and countries. However, with few exceptions Europe is lagging behind the US in attracting HSM. Immigration policy in the EU should change to increase the attractiveness of EU regions and remove obstacles to within-EU mobility.
Marte C.W.Solheim: “For me, the legitimacy of research is in the fact that we disseminate the knowledge the state has invested in, and by expanding research dissemination, that research has more potential to be useful. The #EURegionsWeek provided a great opportunity to present and interact with a diverse audience group”.
Cornelia Lawson: “Policy is geared towards highly-skilled migrants. But they have families. If we want them to stay, we need to acknowledge that for every highly-skilled migrant there will be low-skilled migrants.”
Andrea Morrison: “From the Neolithic era to the mass migration of Europeans to US in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the movement of people has been an extraordinary way through which knowledge can circulate over long distances”.