The Spanish government's draconian cuts to its science budget do indeed present us with an opportunity (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. Nature 486,
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.