Nepali scientists 'abandoning' national science academy
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.