Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
In today’s well-connected world, research collaboration crosses international borders. Preparing early career scientists to be successful in the global research enterprise is an important goal of the National Science Foundation (NSF). To accomplish this, NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering sponsors two programs designed to give these scientists an international research experience. Through NSF’s East Asia Pacific Summer Institute and the International Research Fellowship Program, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are exposed to scientific environments and cultures of other countries by performing research at universities outside of the United States. This affords them the opportunity to forge lasting relationships with foreign investigators. NSF engaged Abt Associates to determine the benefits of these programs to participants as well as to the U.S. and foreign host universities. Using the statistical approach called “propensity score matching,” Abt Associates was able to compare NSF program participants to unsuccessful applicants on research productivity, job placement, satisfaction, level of engagement in international collaborations, and other career outcomes. Both the funded and unsuccessful applicants compared favorably to national cohorts of scientists on a range of measures. The study’s results offer NSF essential information about the value of the international programs in positively influencing the careers of young investigators.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.