Mais où sont donc les jeunes scientifiques américains ?
Issu de : S&T Presse USA - BULLETIN ELECTRONIQUE DES ETATS-UNISMission pour la Science et la TechnologieAmbassade de France aux Etats-Unis
Par, le 21 novembre 2003
Une étude de la National Science Foundation (NSF) souligne le déclin du nombre de scientifiques américains de souche, c’est-à-dire nés aux Etats-Unis. Le pourcentage de chercheurs et ingénieurs d’origine étrangère possédant une formation universitaire est ainsi passé de 14% en 1990 à 22% en 2000. Pour les doctorants, les chiffres sont encore plus frappants : ils étaient 40% en 2000 contre 24% en 1990. Certes, le nombre de visas H-1B délivrés à la main-d’oeuvre qualifiée en 2002 a diminué par rapport à l’an 2000. Mais ce chiffre tient plus à la conjoncture économique qu’à un renversement des tendances et la dépendance américaine vis-à-vis des cerveaux étrangers reste élevée. Pour les auteurs de l’étude, la source du problème est claire : la carrière scientifique n’attire plus les jeunes Américains. La NSF appelle donc l’administration fédérale à fournir un effort particulier afin de promouvoir les sciences et techniques dans les écoles et de maintenir ainsi un capital de travailleurs américains. Cette position ne marque pourtant pas un repli sur soi ; une politique d’immigration susceptible de favoriser les échanges entres scientifiques nationaux et étrangers est également préconisée. LAT 20/11/2003 (Federal aid urged to boost the domestic workforce in science)
Federal Aid Urged to Boost the Domestic Workforce in Science
More U.S. engineering and other technical jobs are being done by foreigners, a study finds.
By Shweta Govindarajan, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON - Greater federal assistance is needed to bolster the country’s shrinking native-born science and engineering workforce and to encourage more U.S. college students to pursue careers in these fields, the National Science Foundation said Wednesday.
The percentage of college-educated scientists and engineers who are working in the U.S. but were born elsewhere jumped from 14% in 1990 to 22% in 2000, a foundation study of workforce trends reported.
The study also found that among professionals with doctorates in science or engineering who were working in the United States, almost 40% were foreign-born in 2000, compared with 24% in 1990.
Furthermore, women, African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are less likely than white men to obtain undergraduate degrees in science and engineering, according to the study, which was issued by the National Science Board, the foundation’s governing body.
"The number of native-born [professionals] entering the workforce is likely to decline unless the nation intervenes," said Joseph A. Miller, chairman of the National Science Foundation’s task force on workforce policies.
Miller said a national investment in "human capital and capabilities" must be made to spur domestic growth in science and technical fields.
"It is important for the federal government to step forward to ensure the adequacy of [a] science and engineering workforce," he said.
In addition, efforts to attract students, particularly women and minorities, to become scientists and engineers must start in high schools with stronger programs in math, science and technology, officials said.
"Today’s and tomorrow’s economies and workforce requirements are worlds apart from 25 years ago," said Diana S. Natalicio, president of the University of Texas at El Paso and vice chairwoman of the National Science Board. "Young people simply aren’t being attracted by these careers."
The study also showed that the number of H-1B visas, which allow companies to sponsor foreign employees with specialized skills for up to six years, had dropped in 2002 compared with 2000 - largely because of the economic downturn, officials said. But, the study noted, U.S. dependence on foreign labor without developing a highly skilled domestic workforce is problematic.
"We cannot subsist on a diet of imported aptitude," said Rita R. Colwell, director of the National Science Foundation. Nurturing careers in science and engineering among U.S.-born professionals would "ensure the continued preeminence of this country in the future," she added.
At the same time, immigration policies should continue to let a national and a foreign workforce interact, Colwell said.
"This is not a xenophobic response," she said. Not balancing the labor market with domestic workers, she added, would "cheat our nation on its future."