Worries for Science in Spain

I recently received the following email letter, concerning the state of science funding in Spain.  As well as passing it on to colleagues I thought I would post it on this blog where it might have wider impact:

Dear colleague,

You probably know very well how the global crisis is affecting southern Europe, and in particular Spain. Some of us are promoting a campaign among the worlwide scientific community to prevent our conservative government from straining even more the science system in Spain, that so many successes has obtained in the last decade, but whose future is now at stake.

In the next few weeks, and contravening recommendation from the European Commission stating that public deficit control measures should not affect Research and Development (R&D) and innovation, the Spanish Government and Parliament could approve a State Budget for 2012 that would cause considerable long-term damage to the already weakened Spanish research system, contributing to its collapse.

There is an open letter that we are sending to distinguished scientists all over the world, including many Nobel Prize Winners and Members of Academies of Science, asking them to sign, support the motion and spread the word:

http://www.investigaciondigna.es/wordpress/sign

Please do help us by signing the letter and passing it on to your colleagues.

Kind regards,

Alexander Knebe

The “open letter” you can read by clicking on the link contains some interesting – and alarming – information that has serious implications for our colleagues not only in Spain but elsewhere in Europe. Take a look, for example, at the following picture that shows the fraction of GDP being invested in science:

This isn’t just about Spain, although the situation is clearly especially serious for Spanish Science. It’s a timely reminder that the UK is also well below the EU average in terms of science spend. Is it a coincidence that the EU’s worst-performing economies are all on the right of this figure? Is that where we want the UK to be too?

One Response to “Worries for Science in Spain”

  1. Interestingly, apart from the UK and Ireland, this is extremely highly correlated with the distance from the north pole (small distance = large investment). Of course, one can wonder whether lack of investment causes economies to fail or whether failed economies (think that they) can’t afford to invest (or whether there is a common cause, which might be spending money on the wrong things and being lax in collecting taxes).

    This reminds me of the time a colleague originally from Germany but working in Italy was visiting the UK (where I was at the time) and asked me what to expect. My reply: Just imagine Italy, but without the good food and without the good weather. Upon arrival, he judged my description to be spot-on.

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