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February 10th, 2008
Scientists and technologists are among the main drivers of a country's economic development. Vibrant economies usually have a high scientist-to-population ratio. Consider: In 2002, Singapore had 4,613 scientists and engineers engaged in research and development per million population, Malaysia had 726 and Vietnam 516. Indonesia had 445 the previous year.
In contrast, the Philippines was at the bottom with only 108 scientists and engineers engaged in R&D per million population, according to a 2003 Department of Science and Technology data.
The low ratio may be changing soon. A number of Filipino scientists and technocrats have been jetting to and from the Philippines, helping develop a critical mass of young scientists in the country.
The scientists have been coming in any way they can—in their personal capacity or through invitations from local-based colleagues, universities or government-initiated programs. They teach, lecture, form collaborations, lend expertise, and sometimes give young scientists the experience to work in laboratories abroad.
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