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Close shave for Austrian science budget

The Austrian government has retreated from its threat to cut the science budget by 40% (see Nature 457, 648; 2009), approving instead a small rise that slows rather than reverses the country's plans for a big expansion in science.

The FWF, Austria's principal research-funding agency, has had its money cut by 18%, but president Christoph Kratky says the new budget stability makes up for the shortfall. In the next few weeks the FWF will clear a backlog of 700 reviewed projects accumulated over six months of uncertainty.

The Austrian Academy of Sciences, which runs 33 research institutes, gets a bare 2% rise, although it has recently opened several new institutes. Outgoing academy president Peter Schuster says that these — including the Centre for Molecular Medicine and the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, both in Vienna — will be sheltered from cuts. The academy is now deciding where to wield the knife among the older institutes.

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Close shave for Austrian science budget. Nature 458, 1090 (2009).

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