Creating a New Data Infrastructure for Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers: Data, Analysis, and Use


Funded by NSF through America’s DataHub, the Coleridge Initiative, the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University, and the Arkansas Department for Transformation and Shared Services, Division of Information Systems are working together to examine what different federal and state data sources can tell us about foreign-born scientists and engineers in the US. We’re comparing official statistics and looking for innovative ways to measure returns on US investments into these scientists.

Objectives & Challenges

The objective of this project is to establish the foundations of a national data infrastructure to address unanswered questions about foreign-born scientists and engineers in the United States, beginning with estimating the economic return on investment on U.S. training of Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers (FBSEs).

Challenges have been identified along various dimensions. On the contracting side, there were lessons learned in facilitating data sharing between states and federal sponsors especially when it came to the question of who retains data ownership when a project like this is undertaken. On the research side, using currently available data provides us a limited picture of the foreign-born population as well as using common definitions.

Process & Work

Coleridge hosted the inaugural convening that served to bring the working teams from each organization together to discuss their progress and plans to ensure the sustainability and scalability of their work.

Coleridge leads the work on benchmarking the foreign-born scientists and engineers population using both publicly available and restricted education data. Additionally, Coleridge is exploring data for elements that could be used in creating the infrastructure.

The Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University is leading the data model construction. They are reviewing the data elements necessary to study the foreign-born population and estimate the returns.

The Arkansas Department for Transportation and Shared Services, Division of Information Systems is leading the work on linkage and methods to optimize matching of individuals from disparate data sources.