Research and Technology Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta made the call here on Monday at a year-end reflective discussion titled "From the World to Indonesia" held by the Association of Indonesian International Scientists here on Monday.
The minister said hundreds of Indonesian scientists are now working in various countries as researchers or in big companies.
"Many smart people are working abroad. The government appeals to them to return home to the country. Their ideas and expertise are badly needed for developing our rich country," he said.
He said he could understand why many of them had worked abroad. He said they worked abroad because they could earn much more there.
"I believe patriotism could defeat income. They certainly still love and miss Indonesia," he said.
In view of that, he said his office had made an inventory of scientists that are now working abroad so that the government could build communication with them.
The deputy for research and technology on scientific and technological resources, Freddy Permana Zen, expressed worries that more and more Indonesian scientists would be recruited by other countries.
To prevent that, he said he would continue communicating with Indonesian scientist network abroad.
"We do not want to see Indonesia to continue losing them because they are recruited by other countries," he said.
The chairman of the Association of Indonesian International Scientists (I4), Andreas Raharso, said future competition among countries would be on natural resources but human resources.
In view of that, he hoped the government would support research and studies so that Indonesia could be superior in terms of human resources.
"Although we are abroad our heart remains for Indonesia," he said.
An Indonesian post-graduate medical student in Leiden, the Netherlands, Ahmad Aditya, said he kept holding meetings with other scientists through the Association of Indonesian International Scientists.
He said the forum was very important for discussing issues in the country.
"The first meeting was able to gather a total of 400 Indonesian scientists working in various countries," he said.