Scientists take to the streets before the elections | Science


The largest organization of young scientists in the country has called a demonstration tomorrow in Madrid to demand that Spain reach the European level of investment in R & D & I and that politicians seal a state pact for science to ensure that this goal is achieved. They are two claims that come from afar and that scientists have wanted to take back to the street before the elections in an attempt to pressure the new Government to leave the generals on November 10.

"While many countries of the European Union already invest 2% of their GDP in research, in Spain we are at 1.2%, a level comparable to that of 10 years ago", highlights Manuel Heras, postdoctoral researcher at the University of the Country Basque and spokesman for the Federation of Young Researchers (FJI), which has called for mobilization. "We demand that politicians increase the science budget and that it be spent on hiring scientists and paying for research projects, not on loans as is happening with more than a third of the total expenditure," explains Heras.

The political paralysis that Spain is going through and the extension of the 2018 budgets assume that non-financial science spending is stagnant. The organizers of the protest demand that in the next legislature Spain reach a level of expenditure on R + D + i of 2% of GDP, something that not only involves the public sector, but also the private sector. That proposal is carried out by some parties in their electoral program, but it is "impossible", according to independent experts.

The protest is supported by major unions in the field of science, CC OO, UGT and CSIF, and other organizations, including the Spanish Association for the Advancement of Science, the Spanish Association of Hospital Workers and the Royal Spanish Society of Physics (RESF). The organization plans to charter buses to take researchers from several Spanish cities to Madrid.

The group also proposes a crash plan to recover the level of human resources and the reduction of the average ages of the staff. For example, the average age in the Higher Council for Scientific Research is 54 years. Protesters will also demand measures to ensure the predictability of public calls to prevent some scientists from having to go to work periodically, and reducing the temporary employment of researchers and contractors.

The organizers also request a single management system for the seven Public Research Organizations, some of them suffering from bureaucratic obstacles that extend simple administrative procedures such as buying chairs or hiring scientists for months or even more than a year. In March of this year, the Government approved a package of urgent measures to alleviate this bureaucratization, but the measures have not yet achieved their objective and have also sown uncertainty by proposing a calendar of calls that can leave certain groups without funding, according to the Protest conveners.

The march will begin at 12:00 at the Puerta del Sol and will conclude in the Congress of Deputies with the reading of a manifesto.

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