Dutch universities fear brain drain in AI departments: report

Dutch universities are worried that the supply of lecturers in Artificial Intelligence will dry up - the vast majority of PhD graduates in this field are opting to enter the business world or teach at an American university, Financieele Dagblad reports.

American universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are increasingly given the opportunity to invest in AI. MIT recently announced a 1 billion dollar investment in a new AI center. Dutch universities can not compete with this financial strength. 

"MIT will try to get the best researchers and PhD students", Maarten de Rijke, director of the new national institute for artificial intelligence ICAI, said to the newspaper. "Even now up to 90 percent of our PhD students go to work outside the university. If that becomes 100 percent, we will no longer have any new lecturers for the next generation of scientists." MIT is currently looking for 15 AI lecturers. 

In addition to foreign universities, the business sector also attracts Dutch PhD students. According to the newspaper, almost all PhD graduates go to work in the business world. A university lecturer in AI in the Netherlands earns around 60 thousand euros gross per year. In the business world, that same person could earn double that, or even five times in the United States. "That's why we have to try to solve this problem together with companies, which requires more creativity when it comes to offering employment conditions", De Rijke said.

. A total of 700 students applied for the Master's program in Amsterdam this summer, while the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit can only accommodate around 180 students. Other universities, including the Radboud University in Nijmegen and the University of Groningen, also have too few lecturers to accommodate the number of interested students. 

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