Opposition parties pledge support for scientists’ R&D plan

Parliamentary groups commit to backing platform's four-point scheme to boost funding

All of Spain’s parliamentary groups, with the exception of the ruling Popular Party (PP), have signed up to support a four-point plan put forward by scientists to increase support for the country’s research and development system, which has been badly hit by government spending cuts in recent years.

“There is no possible future for our country without dedicated support for scientific research,” said Rafael Garesse of the Confederation of Spanish University Presidents (CRUE) after Wednesday’s round of meetings between the Carta por la Ciencia (Map for Science) collective and the parliamentary groups in Congress.

The collective — which comprises the CRUE, the Confederation of the Scientific Associations of Spain, the Platform for Dignified Research, the Federation of Young Researchers/Precarios and the main CCOO and UGT labor unions — wants to see the reinstatement of funding lost through R&D budget cuts since 2009 (over 40 percent) over the next three years, increasing public investment in science by around 630 million euros a year. It is also calling for the standardization of project offers and contracts, the abolition of limits on the hiring of scientists and the creation of a State Research Agency.

Opposition parties have committed themselves to including the four points in their amendments during the next parliamentary debate on the 2014 state budget.

A hundred directors of centers and institutes governed by the Higher Council for Scientific Research signed up to the points last week.

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