Bridges Between Scientific Communities

Ideas on Diaspora Networks and their Countries of Origin

By Horacio G. Rotstein

The development of science is inherently international and knows no borders. This has been favored by the expanding mobility of scientists over the years, and more recently by their increasing ability to interact electronically. While mobility has enriched the scientific enterprise, it has also contributed to the phenomenon known as brain drain where educated and highly qualified individuals choose to emigrate to more developed countries, often in search of better horizons. Policies have been developed to mitigate (brain circulation and brain linkage) and revert (brain gain) the imbalance created between developing and industrialized countries. These efforts and their effects are described in the specialized literature. Many scientists who do not return to their country of origin choose to establish collaborations and participate in professional networks of fellow nationals. The massification of electronic connectivity has been key in bringing together diaspora scientists and their colleagues in their country of origin, thus contributing to the development of global communities.


In a recent article (Towards a new notion of human capital diaspora: a tight functional integration between communities - Rotstein & Galvis - Diplocientífica - 2023) we proposed a novel, integrative notion of scientific diaspora using the metaphor “diaspora as members of the tribe”, which inherently involves close collaborations between the country of origin and the host country. This notion captures numerous examples of already established international collaborations (individual and collective initiatives) and advocates a stronger interaction and a systematic participation of scientists residing abroad in the academic activities of their country of origin with a particular emphasis in the training of human resources, project development and institutional involvement. As mentioned above, this is becoming increasingly facilitated by the growing advances in technology connectivity among other factors.


This type of collaborative integration has been the philosophy of the Argentine Network Raíces NE-USA [1] and to some extent the global RCAE [2]. As part of our contributions to this endeavor as members of Raíces NE-USA, we have organized several activities [3]. Recently (June 2023) we have organized the workshop “Mathematical aspects of brain computation” as part of the “XVII Congreso Monteiro” [4] with the participation of Argentine scientists abroad. The talks covered several topics, including attractor dynamics in inhibition-dominated networks, reduction of dimensions (manifolds), and the consequent low-dimensional dynamics in neuronal populations / networks, and degeneracy / unidentifiability in dynamical systems, computational psychiatry and learning. Participants were scientists working both in academia and industry. More recently, in collaboration with the applied mathematics / dynamical systems group in the Department of Mathematics at UNS, we have organized and taught an introductory course on computational neuroscience, which focused on dynamic models of neurons and included the use of dynamical systems tools to analyze these models. Dynamical systems tools and ideas were particularly useful in the development of the final projects for the course, which include the use of data coming from a variety of experiments.

This type of activities not only contribute to the development of a global and collaborative community of scientists, but also create the knowledge and experience that are necessary to reproduce, replicate and expand these efforts, which ultimately benefit society.

About the author
Horacio G. Rotstein is a Professor of Mathematical Biology and Computational Neuroscience in the Federated Department of Biological Sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University. HGR is also a Member of the Graduate Faculty in the Behavioral Neurosciences Program at Rutgers University and a Corresponding Investigator at CONICET, Argentina and is Emeritus Chair of Raíces NE-USA, served as Chair during the period 2020-2024, and as a Committee Member prior to this period.


[1] Network of Argentine Scientists, Investigators and Knowledge Professionals in the USA (Northeast). Raíces is Spanish for roots. Links: &

[2] Network of Argentine Scientists Abroad (Red de Científicos Argentinos en el Exterior). It is formed by the networks of Argentine scientist in various countries. Link:

[3] E.g., the workshop entitled “Mathematics as a Tool to Understand Biology – Biology as a Source of Mathematical Problems” at the University of Buenos Aires in 2015.

[4], organized biannually by the Math Department at Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS) in Bahía Blanca, Argentina.

Categories: Magazine, Articles

Please login or register to post comments.


More from DSWeb