This paper brings together recent statistical evidence on international (co-)publications and (foreign) PhD-students and scholars to document shifts in geographic sources of scientific production and their impact. The evidence demonstrates that despite the continued dominance of the US and the increasing importance of the EU, the TRIAD is in relative decline. Other geographic sources of science outside the TRIAD are rising, both in quantity, but also, although still to a lesser extent, in quality. Especially China drives this non-TRIAD growth. This catch-up of non-TRIAD countries drives a slow but real process of global convergence. It nevertheless leaves a less equal non-TRIAD science community, as the growth of China, is not matched by other non-TRIAD countries.
Despite the rise of China’s own scientific production, and the increasing return flows of overseas students and scholars, the outward flows of Asean talents have not diminished over time. The data suggest a high correlation between the patterns of international mobility of scientists and the patterns of international collaborations. The large and stable flow of Chinese human capital into the US forms the basis on which stable international US-Chinese networks are built. With the EU lacking this Chinese human capital circulation, it is more difficult to build up similar strong and stable networks.