Sunday, November 28, 2004

On the Other Hand, Our Faith-Healers Are the Envy of the World 

We may have this wrong, but we are beginning to suspect that strict governmental adherence to Biblical precepts may not lead to across-the-board international dominance in the rapidly evolving field of biotech research. From The Scientist, courtesy of our learned colleagues at The Corpus Callosum:
Germany and other European countries should make the most of the results of the US presidential election to woo back researchers from America, a leading stem cell researcher has suggested.

Last Tuesday (November 16), the German business daily Handelsblatt quoted Hans R. Schöler as saying that Germany now has a "unique opportunity to keep scientists in Germany and recruit top scientists from around the world" because of the current "not exactly rosy" research and political situation in the United States.

Schöler, head of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, told The Scientist that he had talked to more than 20 American researchers who were worried about the direction of American science, especially embryonic stem cell research, in the coming years under a Bush administration.

"After the election, the people I have been talking to are just in shock," Schöler told The Scientist . . . .

Schöler is not the only European scientist to see the victory of President Bush as a possible stimulus for the departure of US-based scientists. Earlier this year, Michael J. Rennie, of the University of Nottingham's School of Biomedical Sciences, also expressed such sentiment in an interview with The Scientist.

Rennie told The Scientist this week that he stood by his earlier comments. "I'm just back from the USA, and yes, I do believe that there will be some emigration," he said.

Rennie said that universities in the United Kingdom were already contacting top US-based scientists in "hot fields" that the Bush Administration appears to have little interest in, such as stem cell and environmental research. The UK universities would be trying to sell the US scientists on the benefits of working in the United Kingdom, Rennie said.

On his recent trip, Rennie said, scientists in Toronto said they were expecting to hear from more and more US-based scientists about job possibilities north of the border. "They told me they would now be able to recruit US-based scientists," he said.

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