Over 150 scientists and engineers have quit the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) to either go abroad or join the private sector during the past decade, according to a NAST official.
Deepak Raj Poudel, chief of NAST's promotion division, says some scientists either resign from NAST or simply do not return after training abroad. There is also a rising trend of young researchers taking leave to work on projects outside of NAST.
A former NAST scientist says most scientists leave because the work environment is not conducive to pursuing research — Nepal's small annual science budget of 50.4 million Nepalese rupees (US$784,000) barely covers administration costs.
The Nepal Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology says it has no current plans to address the situation. With the country having just emerged from a decade-long internal political conflict, the government is giving priority to helping its conflict-stricken areas.