Reversing the Brain Drain


By SheEO

From stocking up on cases of canned ham in the weeks leading up to Y2K, to ordering a fifth martini, to texting your ex after you’ve finished that fifth martini, there are numerous examples of things that seemed like a good idea at the time.


Now add to that list, ‘Assume investing money in science and technology will produce a good return’.


According to the recent study Reversing the Brain Drain: Where is Canadian STEM Talent Going?, published by the Munk School of Global Affairs and funded by tech-firm Delvinia Interactive Inc., one-in-four Canadian STEM graduates choose to work outside of Canada. For technology-focused STEM grads, the numbers are even higher, with 66% of software engineering students, 30% of computer engineering and computer science students, and 24% of systems design engineering students moving on to what they perceive to be bigger and better opportunities outside of Canada.


Zachary Spicer, the study’s lead and a senior associate with the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto told the Globe and Mail, ‘I think the policy makers should look at this as a bit of a wake-up call.’ Ya’ think?


At a time when Canadian universities receive 49.1% of all revenues from government sources, at a time when a key pledge in the Liberal government’s 2018  budget is to provide $572 million to allow [academic] researchers  across Canada better access to advanced computing and big data resources, and, based on the numbers in this report, at a time when the young women and men who benefit from these taxpayers dollars are taking their shiny new skill and knowledge and saying, ‘Thanks and good-bye’ as they head south of the border, maybe we should press ‘Pause’ for a minute and address the elephant in the room: Is Canada’s investment in technology actually producing the returns we expect?


If the answer is ‘No’, then maybe it’s time to look at innovation and funding for innovation through a different lens. It seems like a good idea at this time.


Founder of SheEO - Vicki Saunders will speak at #WFCANADA on the session "Seed funding for long-term growth: Scaling investment in women-led businesses." Join us as we engage for impact by registering here