With the growth of global development and investment in science, there are increasing opportunities to work abroad, both short and long term. The WorldWideScience Alliance is working to achieve a global science gateway.
Globalisation and the internet mean that the world is getting smaller and it is now commonplace for employees to work in actual or virtual multinational teams. There are large international projects such as the:
The UK has an excellent international base that can support overseas job progression. Almost half of expenditure on research and development (R&D) in the UK is by foreign-owned companies.
Will my qualifications be recognised?
Graduate scientists' skills are highly transferable worldwide.
Individuals with at least five years' postgraduate training and/or biochemistry, biology, bioinformatics or chemistry skills are especially sought-after in emerging Asian jobs markets.
English is often used as the main language of communication within the scientific community and may be sufficient for mid-level R&D recruits. However, additional language skills are useful and host country language skills are recommended for supervisory, research floor or high-level positions.
UK scientists wishing to work abroad are generally more employable if they hold Masters or PhD qualifications. UK qualifications 'travel well' and non-UK companies look favourably on applications from UK graduates.
Increased access to learning on the internet means that study and continuing professional development (CPD) can be sourced anywhere in the world.
Where are the opportunities?
There are more chances of gaining employment in countries with strong economies and good levels of investment in R&D, such as Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.
Scientific industries within emerging economies, such as the chemical industries in Brazil and the Middle East, are developing rapidly and struggling to fill scientific positions.
Opportunities for scientists have opened up in Asia with governments and the private sector eager to expand in scientific areas. Japan, India and China have been eager to attract international talent. Many top pharmaceutical firms, for example, have developed sites in Singapore.
Research in Australia has identified a shortfall in home-grown scientists and an increased demand for highly qualified overseas workers in areas such as food, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and protein and peptide chemistry.
Ireland has invested heavily in science and has developed its company base but has had a difficult time attracting candidates.
US President Barack Obama has pledged $66.8billion for federal science spending in 2012 (Scientific American, 2011). Areas of research key to the US include climate change and the development of alternatives to oil.
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