Tuesday, July 15, 2008

China fact of the day

Just two Chinese universities -- Tsinghua and Peking -- accounted for over 1000 PhDs awarded in 2006 -- and here's the surprising bit -- by the US universities! These numbers place them at No. 1 and No. 2 in the pecking order, followed by Berkeley, Seoul National, Michigan, and Cornell.


  1. HOBO said...

    What about Career prospects ?

  2. Sourav said...

    That,in a way,looks quite surprising to me. The recent trends in India show that as career prospects inside the country are increasing,less and less students are opting for a PhD abroad.(Not that this trend is pleasing in any way!)
    China is also seeing a similar boom in the job market.Hence,the question begs a more detailed answer as to why so many of the country's young graduates are opting for a PhD in the U.S rather than a job option in the country's booming manufacturing sector?
    I would not assign this mass trend simply to the "love of science" factor,for although it would have been great to believe that,but it is rarely the cause that drives mass trends.

  3. Subbiah said...

    This is not at all surprising.

    Since the 1990s when China made higher education a priority, the proportion of graduates from senior secondary schools who went on to pursue higher education rose significantly, from nearly half in 1995 to three-fourths by 2006. The gross enrolment ratio in tertiary education rose from 6% in 1999 to 20% in 2005, higher than India's 11% and Vietnam's 16%.According to a recent RAND Corporation report on US competitiveness in science and technology by Titus Galama and James Hosek, China is graduating more scientists and engineers than the US.

    More than half of Chinese students graduate in natural sciences and engineering, compared with a world average of 27% and only 17% in the US. In 2006, 36% of Chinese undergraduate degrees and 37% of graduate degrees were awarded in engineering. In contrast, only one-sixteenth of the US undergraduate degrees awarded in 2004 were in engineering.

    China has big ambitions in science and technology. During 1993-2003 China's R&D expenditures grew faster than in any other nation, driving her share of world R&D investment from 3.6% to 9.5%. During the same period the European Union’s share of world R&D investment declined from 28.5% to 25% and the share of the US dropped from 37.6% to 36.1%.

    In January 2006, China initiated a 15-year "medium- to long-term plan for the development of science and technology." The nation aims to become an "innovation-oriented society" by 2020 and a world leader in science and technology by 2050. Under this plan, China wants to develop indigenous innovation capabilities, leapfrog into leading positions in new science-based industries, increase R&D expenditures to 2.5% of GDP by 2020 (up from 1.34% in 2005), increase the contribution to economic growth from technological advances to 60%, limit dependence on imported technology to 30%, and become one of the top five countries in the world in the number of patents granted.

    While other nations/regions are not outpacing the US in science and technology employment, China added about the same number of researchers as the US and overtook Japan during the period 1995 to 2002. Between 1995 and 2003, science and technology employment in China grew by 6.5% a year. If current growth rates for the US and China are maintained, China could overtake America in the total number of researchers by 2021.
    China obviously needs a huge number of doctorates in science and engineering. And the better universities in China do not yet have the capacity to train them in large numbers. Naturally, they need to get trained elsewhere and for good reasons the Chinese students prefer to go to USA.

    Manufacturing is booming too in China. In 2005, China accounted for 14% of the Gross World Product - compared with 20% for the US and 6% for India - up from a mere 3% in 1975. Science and engineering graduates and doctorates need not worry about job opportunities.

    According OECD Education at a Glance 2007, there were more than 400,000 Chinese students studying in colleges and universities abroad in 2005, compared with less than 140,000 from India.

    [Subbiah Arunachalam]