The pain in Spain falls on the science game

SPAIN, on the edge of an economic abyss, will cut research grants and subsidies by 22.5 per cent, seeking to preserve quality as it reduces quantity in R&D, says science secretary Carmen Vela.

"Only those scientists who can demonstrate that they are pushing the frontiers of our knowledge will be allotted resources,'' she writes in the journal Nature.

"We want to support only the really competitive projects that are bearing fruit, or that show the potential to do so through recent results, and which aim to improve the daily lives of our citizens.''

Ms Vela says there will be a new public agency to evaluate and fund R&D, a smaller number of better-funded grants for young researchers, and an effort to reduce duplication.

"Currently, there is a biotechnology research centre or a science park in almost every Spanish region,'' she says.

The online response to her article, so far, has been sceptical.

"The temptation is clear, fund a few and forget the rest,'' says one commenter.

"This brings the country to an obvious loop -- the best, the excellent, are in those centres that receive the most.''


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