Plans for a “Third Slovenian University” as Part of the Response to the Brain Drain Challenges of the 1970s and 1980s
During the forty years of debate on the brain drain in Slovenia, various ideas have emerged on how to prevent the long-term negative socioeconomic consequences of the brain drain. Proposals range from measures to curb the emigration of educated and highly-skilled personnel to considerations of the need to encourage return, to the idea of international cooperation, which was at the heart of the proposal for a “Third Slovenian University.” Outflows should be regulated in a way that does not represent an outflow of knowledge, but its enrichment—the organization of transnational networks through which knowledge circulates and returns.Keywords: migration, brain drain, Third Slovenian University, emigrants, mobility
Forty years of sporadic discussions about the brain drain in Slovenia have given rise to various ideas about what to do to prevent the long-term negative socioeconomic consequences of the brain drain at home. They range from measures to prevent the emigration of educated and highly-skilled people, to considerations on encouraging return, to the idea of international cooperation. The latter is at the heart of the “Third Slovenian University” proposal of the late 1980s. In the late 1980s, Klinar pointed out that Slovenia could not prevent a brain drain, which is linked to its semi-peripheral economic position within the global (in)power structure of different countries. It has no choice but to change its attitude and seek solutions to the brain drain challenge in a combination of two (theoretical) models of response. The first part addresses the need for radical structural changes to improve the devalued position of science in Slovenia, while the second part is about cooperation with our experts around the world. The latter was the basis for the idea of the Third Slovenian University. At the forefront was a proposal to organize alternative forms of international cooperation with experts who have gone abroad. Instead of limiting departures and encouraging returns, the dynamics should be regulated in such a way that departures do not represent an outflow of knowledge but rather its enrichment. A prerequisite for the circulation and exchange of knowledge is to regulate the status of science in Slovenia and provide working conditions for excellent work by scientists, which would also attract experts from abroad to Slovenia. The circulation of knowledge, in its definition, includes brain drain, brain gain, brain exchange, and—above all—international networks of scientific cooperation. The latter is increasingly important given global digitalization, technological change, and the structural changes in the economy we are witnessing today.