Remco Zwetsloot was a Research Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) focused on the U.S. AI and computing workforce, immigration policy, research security, and U.S.-China technology transfer issues. His writing has appeared in academic journals as well as popular media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and Lawfare. He is also a Research Affiliate and Ph.D. (D.Phil.) Scholar at the University of Oxford’s Center for the Governance of AI. He has previously worked at OpenAI and holds degrees from Yale University (M.Phil., Political Science), the University of Oxford (M.Phil., International Relations) and University College Roosevelt (B.A., Social Science).
In an opinion piece for The Hill, Research Analyst Will Hunt and CSET Alum Remco Zwetsloot argue that funding from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the America COMPETE Act isn't the only resource needed to bolster U.S. supply chains. The U.S. is in need of STEM talent to compete.
This issue brief uses data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients to explore how many of the international students who earn STEM PhDs from U.S. universities stay in the country after graduation. The authors trace the journeys that these graduates take through the immigration system and find that most remain in the United States long after earning their degrees.
China is Fast Outpacing U.S. STEM PhD GrowthAugust 2021
Since the mid-2000s, China has consistently graduated more STEM PhDs than the United States, a key indicator of a country’s future competitiveness in STEM fields. This paper explores the data on STEM PhD graduation rates and projects their growth over the next five years, during which the gap between China and the United States is expected to increase significantly.
Chinese Students Are Not a Fifth ColumnApril 2021
CSET Research Fellows Remco Zwetsloot and Zachary Arnold argue against the banning of Chinese STEM students from the United States and outline how rejecting foreign talent hampers U.S. innovation.
CSET submitted this comment to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security on how to address concerns about the security of semiconductor supply chains in regions where natural disasters, geopolitical events or other factors might cause serious disruptions.
In May 2020, the White House announced it would deny visas to Chinese graduate students and researchers who are affiliated with organizations that implement or support China’s military-civil fusion strategy. The authors discuss several ways this policy might be implemented. Based on Chinese and U.S. policy documents and data sources, they estimate that between three and five thousand Chinese students might be prevented from entering U.S. graduate programs each year.
Mapping U.S. Multinationals’ Global AI R&D ActivityDecember 2020
Many factors influence where U.S. tech multinational corporations decide to conduct their global artificial intelligence research and development (R&D). Company AI labs are spread all over the world, especially in North America, Europe and Asia. But in contrast to AI labs, most company AI staff remain concentrated in the United States. Roxanne Heston and Remco Zwetsloot explain where these companies conduct AI R&D, why they select particular locations, and how they establish their presence there. The report is accompanied by a new open-source dataset of more than 60 AI R&D labs run by these companies worldwide.
Half of Silicon Valley’s startups have at least one foreign-born founder, and immigrants are twice as likely as native-born Americans to start new businesses. To understand how immigration shapes AI entrepreneurship in particular in the United States, Huang, Arnold and Zwetsloot analyze the 2019 AI 50, Forbes’s list of the “most promising” U.S.-based AI startups. They find that 66 percent of these startups had at least one immigrant founder. The authors write that policymakers should consider lifting some current immigration restrictions and creating new pathways for entrepreneurs.
In recent years, concern has grown about the risks of Chinese nationals studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at U.S. universities. This data brief estimates the number of Chinese students in the United States in detail, according to their fields of study and degree level. Among its findings: Chinese nationals comprise 16 percent of all graduate STEM students and 2 percent of undergraduate STEM students, lower proportions than were previously suggested in U.S. government reports.
The ChipmakersSeptember 2020
Technical leadership in the semiconductor industry has been a cornerstone of U.S. military and economic power for decades, but continued competitiveness is not guaranteed. This issue brief exploring the composition of the workforce bolstering U.S. leadership in the semiconductor industry concludes that immigration restrictions are directly at odds with U.S. efforts to secure its supply chains.
Optional Practical TrainingSeptember 2020
Preserving pathways for high-skilled foreign talent critical to U.S. leadership in artificial intelligence.
Immigration Pathways and Plans of AI TalentSeptember 2020
To better understand immigration paths of the AI workforce, CSET surveyed recent PhD graduates from top-ranking AI programs at U.S. universities. This data brief offers takeaways — namely, that AI PhDs find the United States an appealing destination for study and work, and those working in the country plan to stay.
“In the past five years, each of America's key economic competitors has instituted policies to attract highly skilled STEM talent," said CSET’s Tina Huang. She and Remco Zwetsloot joined the ChinaTalk podcast to discuss AI and immigration policy.
Career Preferences of AI TalentJune 2020
The United States faces increased international competition for top talent in artificial intelligence, a critical component of the American AI advantage. CSET surveyed recent AI PhDs from U.S. universities, offering insights into the academic and career preferences of the AI workforce.
"Today, the United States and its allies and partners are not cooperating but competing for Chinese talent," writes CSET's Remco Zwetsloot in Brookings TechStream. He offers an agenda for multilateral collaboration on talent and technology transfer.
American chip companies depend on foreign graduates and workers, write Remco Zwetsloot and Will Hunt. New large-scale immigration restrictions, if successful, will hamstring efforts to bring home advanced semiconductor manufacturing.
Global China’s advanced technology ambitionsApril 2020
CSET's Saif M. Khan and Remco Zwetsloot joined the Brookings Cafeteria podcast to weigh in on the tech competition between the United States and China.
Sen. Tom Cotton suggested Chinese STEM students head home after studying in the U.S. The research shows otherwise.April 2020
“Is Senator Cotton right in claiming many Chinese students are going back to China, armed with cutting-edge training in fields like AI? The available evidence — including our research — suggests he’s not,” writes CSET Research Fellow Remco Zwetsloot.
Trends in U.S. Intention-to-Stay Rates of International Ph.D. Graduates Across Nationality and STEM FieldsApril 2020
Policymakers continue to debate the ability of the United States to attract and retain top international talent. This Issue Brief assesses how many international Ph.D. graduates across various STEM fields and nationalities intend to stay in the United States after completing their degrees.
China’s Approach to Tech Talent Competition: Policies, Results, and the Developing Global ResponseApril 2020
China’s strategy to grow its science and technology talent includes: 1) improving domestic education; 2) attracting overseas Chinese talent; and 3) attracting foreign talent. While China’s commitment to domestic education reform has achieved remarkable results, significant challenges remain.
Many have sounded the alarm over the loss of U.S.-educated talent to other countries—especially China. Is the perceived brain drain real? A CSET research team finds little evidence of U.S. talent loss.
Foreign Brains Help America CompeteJanuary 2020
CSET research shows more than 80 percent of international students receiving Ph.D.s in artificial intelligence remain in the U.S. for at least five years. That’s good, write Remco Zwetsloot and Zach Arnold, because America’s tech sector relies on foreign-born talent.
The US-China Tech Wars: China’s Immigration DisadvantageDecember 2019
CSET’s Remco Zwetsloot and Dahlia Peterson examine the U.S. advantage over China in recruiting overseas talent to work in emerging tech. They describe deep-rooted reasons for the differences – and the way the United States can maintain its edge.
Keeping Top AI Talent in the United StatesDecember 2019
Talent is core to U.S. competitiveness in artificial intelligence, and international graduate students are a large source of AI talent for the United States. Retaining them in this country as they transition into the workforce is key. Graduate student retention has historically been a core U.S. strength, but that strength is endangered by recent events.
Immigration and the Future of U.S. AINovember 2019
The Forbes AI 50 list “shows that foreign talent is critical to AI innovation—and that for now, the United States can still attract talent from around the world,” write CSET’s Remco Zwetsloot, Tina Huang and Zachary Arnold.
Strengthening the U.S. AI WorkforceSeptember 2019
A sustained talent shortage could undermine U.S. strength in artificial intelligence; current immigration policies would make it worse. Read our recommendations for bolstering U.S. leadership in AI research and practice.
Immigration Policy and the U.S. AI SectorSeptember 2019
As the artificial intelligence field becomes more developed globally, the United States will continue to rely on foreign AI talent to stay ahead of the curve. Here are our preliminary recommendations to maintain current U.S. leadership, bolster the domestic AI workforce and improve the outlook for the future.