Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recent Developments in the Sciences here in the U.S. Impacting International Study, Research and Collaboration

On May 11th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the expansion to the list of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) designated degree programs for eligible international students for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension.  NAFSA: Association of International Educators has long advocated for this and released a press statement yesterday welcoming this new DHS action.  NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene Johnson currently serves on the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC).

Today, leaders from the inaugural Global Summit on Merit Review that was hosted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a set of merit review principles and established a Global Research Council.  According to the NSF press release on the Global Summit on Merit Review, "Heads of research councils from about 50 countries participated in the summit and joined the Global Research Council.  The merit review principles crafted by the summit leaders include expert assessment, transparency, impartiality, appropriateness, confidentiality, and integrity and ethical consideration.  NSF hosted members from G20/OECD (Organization for Equal Cooperation and Development) countries, which are typically most research intensive, and countries with emerging scientific enterprises, including those involved with the State Department Science Envoys program. The merit review process, as practiced by NSF and other leading funding agencies, is recognized as an essential tool for evaluating scientific research.  In releasing a set of common principles, the Summit participants identified best practices and standards that will cultivate multinational research cooperation among countries and across continents.

Photo credit:  Horia Varlan


  1. I would’ve been surprised had DHS not extended the number of programs. There’s no downside to it; it provides better opportunity for young students and increases the likelihood that they’ll stay here to work.

    1. I see this decision as one reducing barriers to exceptional educational programs. When a program is determined to be successful, such as STEM, all eligible students should have equal opportunity to the program. The STEM program enhances knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Which are subjects that provide students opportunity to be successful in today’s global society.