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Monday, 22 July 2013

Directors of Spanish centres demand resolution to CSIC woes

Over 100 directors of Spanish research centres sign letter demanding that Spanish government immediately increase its funding to CSIC, which is facing imminent bankruptcy

Over 100 directors of Spanish research centres have signed a letter to the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness demanding that the Spanish government immediately increase its funding to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which is on the verge of collapse due to a funding crisis. The signees include ICN2 Director Dr Pablo Ordejón.In the letter, dated 19 July, the scientists express their grave concern that CSIC research activities may begin to cease early as the end of this month, due to a dire financial situation that they impute to poor funding on the part of the Spanish government. CSIC is currently unable to meet many of its financial commitments from 2012 and 2013, leaving entire centres without funding for research—or in some cases, even for basic operational needs such as electricity or water—and leaving individual scientists without monies from grants already won.The directors underscore the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation for society and in particular, for helping Spain to overcome its current economic crisis, through advancement of the Knowledge Economy. They insist that the only solution to the CSIC crisis is for the Spanish government—namely, the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the Tax Authority and the Prime Minister—to immediately increase its financial support to the struggling institution.CSIC is Spain’s largest public scientific research body and Europe’s third largest. It employs over 15,000 people, including 3,000 full-time scientists and another 3,000 scientists in training, at over 130 research centres across the Country. CSIC research accounts for approximately 20% of Spanish scientific production and nearly 180 patents annually. The CSIC situation has been covered extensively in Spanish and international media (see links above).To read an article in Spanish news daily El Pais, “Cien directores del CSIC advierten de la paralización de la actividad en semanas” (article in Spanish), click here.To read an article in Spanish news daily El Mundo, “Cien directores de centros del CSIC denuncian que 'no llegan a fin de ano'” (article in Spanish), click here.To read a recent article in Science, “Spain's Research Council Approaches Bankruptcy”, click here.