Published online 18 February 2009 | Nature 457, 949 (2009) | doi:10.1038/457949b

News in Brief

University reforms stall as French protests surge

French scientists voted on 12 February to continue a national strike that began on 2 February in protest at proposed government reforms of academic careers (see Nature 457, 640–641; 2009). Valérie Pécresse, France's science minister, had offered a two-month mediation to revise the draft decree implementing the changes, but to no avail.

The row gathered momentum with nationwide street demonstrations on 10 February; Paris alone saw as many 40,000 researchers and students turn out to protest.

Researchers have now expanded their demands to include reversing the proposed transformation of the CNRS, Europe's largest basic-science agency, into a research council, and other reforms of the university and research systems.

The government lost further support as university presidents, top scientists and a slew of research bodies called for the reforms to be rethought in closer consultation with the research community. 

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