Re: The Education Function

Patrick Wilken (
Wed, 9 Dec 1998 09:51:15 +1100

At 1:31 AM 8-12-98, wrote:
> I saw a documentary a while ago which claimed that some huge
>percentage of the top scientists in America were born and raised in Europe,
>and emigrated there afterwards; I think it was something like 30% British,
>but don't remember the exact figures. I can't back this up with any other
>cites, but it makes sense to me.

Lots of good Australian scientists end up in the States too. And why not? I can earn much more (if I'm good) as an academic in the States than I could ever earn in Australia the UK. Moreover there is lots of money for research.

General scientific research (esp. non-medical) in Australian universities is continually being downgraded. The reasons are complex, but there are some simple factors. Australia has a largely government funded educational system - as funds get tighter its easy for governments to cut funding (esp. when 25% of politicans are lawyers by training and virtually all -- along with the general population -- are scientifically illiterate). With tighter funding cuts universities are trying to get other funding either from industry or student fees (universities until recently have been free to attend). However as most companies only have branch offices in Australia they are reluctant to invest R&D dollars here. So universities are left trying to get funding from students. So lots of investment in law and medicine, computer science and engineering, but to a large extent goodbye to science and arts. So the emphasis is now on being a good teacher and not a good researcher.

ciao, patrick

Patrick Wilken          
Editor:     PSYCHE: An International Journal of Research on Consciousness
Secretary:      The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness