you're reading...

Career Advice

The American Dream: Why do British scientists go to the USA?

It’s easy to see the attraction of becoming a scientist. If you want to make sense of the world, improve people’s lives, discover things that no-one knows about the world and travel the planet to make a positive difference then science is the key to doing all of these things.

Many of the brightest and best talents in the UK devote their lives to science – studying at the nation’s top universities to fine tune their knowledge and expertise.

But, when it comes to pursuing this dream to the nth degree – pushing academic research as far as it can go, taking a business to the market, finding a job in the biggest and best companies – it might well mean looking overseas.

When you look at the case studies of people who have taken ideas and skills overseas – such as these from Alacrita – you can see that for many people, the best place to follow this ambition is America.

But what makes the US a good choice for British scientists?

Best universities in the world

Whether you’re an individual looking to add to your knowledge with post-graduate study or you’re a business on the lookout for the most talented graduates to drive your business forward, universities are key to the world of science. According to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data, American universities perform best for this.

One three of the top ten universities for physics, maths, chemistry and related subjects were not in the US and American universities made up 115 of the top 500.

Princeton, Stanford, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology took the top four places.

Biggest companies in the world

While the best universities in the world provide access to the best learning environment and a high class talent pool, it’s also worth noting that many of the world’s leading science companies are based in the US too. If you want to work for the very best, chances are you need to head out to America.

Investopedia highlighted the following ten firms as the planet’s leading biotech firms:

  1. Johnson & Johnson
  2. Roche
  3. Novartis
  4. Pfizer
  5. Merck
  6. Gilead Sciences
  7. Novo Nordisk
  8. Amgen
  9. Bristol
  10. Sanofi

Of those, only Roche, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi don’t have a HQ in America. The US isn’t just a vast country, it’s also home to vast companies too. This means great job opportunities – but also that there’s an eco system that smaller businesses can operate in, servicing and serving the big players.

Biggest investor in research

The best scientists are reliant on funding to help them to be able to conduct their work. Whether it’s the price to put on a trial or the cost of purchasing laboratory equipment, money is needed to help drive progress.

America leads the way here too, spending more money on research and development than any other nation. While these figures include R&D money that hasn’t been spent on science, the top five, as noted by UK Business Insider, are:

  1. United States $463 billion
  2. China $377 billion
  3. European Union £346 billion
  4. Japan $155 billion
  5. South Korea $74 billion

If you want to ‘follow the money’ then you’ll end up going to America.

Land of opportunity

When it comes to education, investment and business, everything really is bigger in America for scientists. Not only that, but it’s difficult to ignore the strong links between the two countries.

The ‘special relationship’ relies on strong bonds that have been forged and built over a shared language, culture and history. For hundreds of years, Brits have left these shores to pursue their dream in America – it’s ingrained into the national consciousness as a worthy ambition with the US seen as the ‘land of opportunity’. This image and reputation only serves to reinforce the facts below and prove the case for ‘making it in America’.



No comments yet.

Post a Comment


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: