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From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers residing in the United States rose from 21.6 million to 29 million. This 10-year increase included significant growth in the number of immigrant scientists and engineers, from 3.4 million to 5.2 million.

Immigrants went from making up 16 percent of the science and engineering workforce to 18 percent, according to a report from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). In 2013, the latest year for which numbers are available, 63 percent of U.S. immigrant scientists and engineers were naturalized citizens, while 22 percent were permanent residents and 15 percent were temporary visa holders.

Of the immigrant scientists and engineers in the United States in 2013:

  • 57 percent were born in Asia.
  • 20 percent were born in North America (excluding the United States), Central America, the Caribbean, or South America.
  • 16 percent were born in Europe.
  • 6 percent were born in Africa.
  • And less than 1 percent were born in Oceania.

Among Asian countries, India continued its trend of being the top country of birth for immigrant scientists and engineers, with 950,000 out of Asia’s total 2.96 million. India’s 2013 figure represented an 85 percent increase from 2003.

Also since 2003, the number of scientists and engineers from the Philippines increased 53 percent and the number from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, increased 34 percent.

The NCSES report found that immigrant scientists and engineers were more likely to have earned post-baccalaureate degrees than their U.S.-born counterparts. In 2013, 32 percent of immigrant scientists reported their highest degree was a master’s (compared to 29 percent of U.S.-born counterparts) and 9 percent reported it was a doctorate (compared to 4 percent of U.S.-born counterparts). The most common fields of study for immigrant scientist and engineers in 2013 were engineering, computer and mathematical sciences and social and related sciences.

Over 80 percent of immigrant scientists and engineers were employed in 2013, the same percentage as their U.S.-born counterparts. Among the immigrants in the science and engineering workforce, the largest share (18 percent) worked in computer and mathematical sciences, while the second-largest share (8 percent) worked in engineering. Three occupations — life scientist, computer and mathematics scientist and social and related scientist — saw substantial immigrant employment growth from 2003 to 2013.


Henry Sapiecha


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New York — Malaysia today became a founding partner in the Global STEM Alliance, a new high-tech multi-million dollar initiative dedicated to promoting young talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) around the world.

Led by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak participated in the launch at UN Headquarters Monday Sept. 22.

With the goal of developing over 1,000,000 aspiring STEM leaders in more than 100 countries by 2020, the initiative will create a host of learning opportunities, including student connections and networking online with senior international mentors — the many NYAS member Nobel laureates among them.

The Alliance is a collaboration of over 70 governments, companies, NGOs, universities and schools with participants and organizations in over 50 countries. Founding nations and regions of the Global STEM Alliance are the USA, Malaysia, Rwanda, Benin, Bhutan, Barcelona and New York State.

Says the Prime Minister: “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are at the heart of modern life and provide the foundations for economic prosperity. The purpose of driving STEM education is not only to create economic opportunity for individuals; it’s to provide the fuel needed to power a science and technology driven economy.”

Other world leaders participating in the New York launch included President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Yayi Boni of Benin, United States Under-Secretary of State Catherine Novelli, and representatives from UNESCO and the UN’s International Telecommunication Union.

Climate change, food, water and energy shortages, epidemics and the explosive growth of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are among the demands that need to be met by an innovative, STEM-educated workforce.

Yet in emerging economy nations, where innovation is needed the most, there are far too few work-ready STEM professionals.

The Alliance will focus on three strategies: intergenerational mentoring, building foundational skills and building a global network of STEM innovators.

It will create:

  • a global resource for the best available STEM teaching and learning materials
  • enhanced, customized STEM education programs designed to foster youth interests
  • a global mentoring and networking medium for top scientists and STEM students,
  • a connection between STEM leaders worldwide and local STEM programs

The Alliance’s first major initiative: The Junior Academy, a virtual learning and research platform to inspire and prepare gifted students around the world. The platform will include novel talent identification mechanisms, course work and authentic virtual research experiences, access to mentors, and a virtual writing center—tools that are especially valuable in developing, rural or impoverished urban areas, where qualified STEM instructors can be scarce.

CISCO Systems is a partner in the Alliance, creating the online networking and communications platforms enabling online courses, participation in Academy conferences, workshops, seminars, and other activities via laptops or smartphones, providing access to the best STEM learning resources via any web-enabled device, and virtual partnerships leading to inter-generational global projects.

At the UN launch ceremony, Prime Minister Najib’s wife, HE Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, was recognized with a STEM Hero Award. Additional Malaysian participants in the program included Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan, Advisor, PERMATA Pintar Programme, Universiti Kebangsaan, as a global implementation expert.

Says Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Malaysian Prime Minister and co-chair of Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT): “Countries will either have creative, educated young citizens who can out-innovate global competitors such as China and India or they will lag far behind in the world economy. Our generation has to invest in and develop STEM education and talent to the limits of our ability, to find a way to get and keep kids interested — to make STEM fields as fun as football fields. I believe the Global STEM Alliance contributes a big piece in the solution to this puzzle.”

Among sectors of the world economy expected to add the greatest number of high-paying but STEM education pre-requisite jobs: advanced manufacturing, automotive, construction, financial services, geospatial technology, security, information technology, transportation, aerospace, biotechnology, energy, healthcare, hospitality and retail.

Original release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/tca-gsw091914.php

Henry Sapiecha