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International researchers leave Denmark after PhD

Denmark has doubled its number of new PhD researchers in the past years, but many of them travel home again once they are finished, concludes a just released report

The number of international researchers coming to Denmark to do research has increased. But even more of them go back home after they are finished their PhDs, according to a Danish National Audit Office report cited on

The report has looked into the Danish parliament’s investment in research from 2005 to 2012.

Danish universities have doubled the admission of PhDs from abroad since 2003, mostly into the natural sciences, health and technology areas.

Need more humanities, social sciences

Politicians now fear that the doubled PhD intake from abroad has not adequately contributed to growth and prosperity of Denmark.

Social Democrat research spokesman Rasmus Prehn calls it a mistake that the government hasn’t given priority to the Social Sciences and Humanities instead.

»To fill up the spaces, they have had to fill them up with internationals. It is a good thing to get the best and brightest to Denmark, but when these internationals want to go home again, you could consider whether more of them in the future should be within the Social Sciences and Humanities,« he says.

The auditors’ report is on a Danish government research investment totalling DKK 4.8 billion.

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