The situation of Science in Spain is dramatic. In the last three years, public research
centers have suffered an accumulated reduction of more than 30% of the resources
coming from the State Budget and could be up to 40% this year. Investment in R&D in
Spain was 1.39% of GDP in 2010 and it is estimated that in 2011 it was less than 1.35%. The mean EU-27 value is 2.3% and the European Council goal is 3%.
In the next few weeks, the Spanish Government and Parliament could approve a State
Budget that would cause considerable long-term damage to the already weakened Spanish research system, contributing to its collapse. The official line of this new Government is clear (A. Moro-Martín, Nature 2012, 482, 7785): “Science is not a priority in Spain. Of course, we are immersed in an economic crisis and austerity measures are needed. However, the government’s irrational and draconian actions will cause long-term damage to the scientific infrastructure and send contradictory messages to other countries and investors. Although its rhetoric promises a shift to a knowledge-based economy, every step it takes is in the opposite direction. The results will be a borrowed-knowledge economy with little domestic know-how.”
Many Spanish researchers have been trained thanks to considerable national investment, and they are the best prepared to contribute to the shift to the above-mentioned knowledge-based economy. However, the current situation will force them to emigrate when many are at the peak of their scientific productivity. This is dramatic for the country because the characteristics of scientific research require decades for the formation of a skilled workforce. Spain does not harbor an R&D private sector that can absorb and take advantage of highly qualified researchers. If Spain does not take urgent action to stop the brain drain, the country will take decades to recover and the shift to a knowledge-based economy will not be achieved.
Please, consider adhering to the Open Letter in favor of Spanish Science: ! This Open Letter is the result of a consensus between the Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies, Comisiones Obreras (I+D+i), the Federation of Young Researchers and the grassroots Investigación Digna. It will be delivered, together with the names of the signees, to the Spanish Prime Minister and the members of the Spanish Congress and Senate, urging them to seriously consider R&D and innovation among the “priority sectors”. Currently we are gathering signatures, accessible through the above link.
All the support is welcome!