Spanish cuts: Reform bureaucratic culture

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The Spanish government's draconian cuts to its science budget do indeed present us with an opportunity (C. Vela Nature 486, 7; 2012): to overhaul and reform our entire research system. We are then more likely to be in a competitive position when the economic situation improves.

Unnecessary bureaucracy should be a prime target. The cumbersome administrative regulations of public institutions too often conflict with researchers' needs and hold up their work.

For example, the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), which accounts for 16% of Spain's publications (according to Thomson Reuters' ISI Web of Science), could short-circuit administrative delays by allowing its CSIC Foundation to manage its research projects. This increased flexibility would also save public money.

Budgets are set to increase by 58% in Europe's Horizon 2020 research-funding programme. Spanish researchers should ensure that they are in line for the extra funding, despite the national cuts.

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  1. National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.

    • Miguel B. Araújo

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  1. Report this comment #45911

    Pedro Martinez said:

    I am not sure whether European funds are the solution for impoverished Spanish laboratories. There is a rule in economics that says, ?money attracts money?. If you don?t get local (national or institutional) funds, being an ?attractive? partner for European networks is, almost, impossible. Successful networks involver, regularly, well-funded partners. Without strong national backing, our groups are doomed? within and outside our country. Europe is not a miracle. You have to show potential, and the potential comes from having previous national support. I am not convinced by the idea (in fact, I think it is absolutely missing the point) that in the absence of Spanish funds, we will be supported by Europe. Just thinking aloud?

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