A new study has found that Germany successfully attracts students from all over the world to its artificial intelligence doctoral programmes – but then loses many of them to other countries, particularly the US, Switzerland and the UK.
Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, a Berlin-based technology think tank, tracked the careers of 305 AI doctoral candidates who had been supervised by Germany’s leading AI researchers.
Around half of these PhD students came from outside Germany: China, India and Iran in particular. This is a much higher rate of international students than for German universities as a whole.
But after completing their doctorates, almost half of these international researchers left for other countries, overwhelmingly in North America and elsewhere in Europe. Popular destinations included working for Google in Switzerland; Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon and Apple in the US; or Google’s DeepMind in the UK.
In other words, although many stayed in Germany, a large number of international AI PhD students use the country as a stepping stone to a career elsewhere.
The US is much better at hanging on to its AI talent. Of those who did their bachelor’s degree overseas, but came to Germany for a PhD, just 54% are currently working in Germany, compared to 82% in the US.
“Our findings indicate that in the German context, there is room for improvement when it comes to the retention rates of young AI researchers,” says AI Talent Flows in Germany.