On a background of protests against police violence in the United States, the juggernaut of computing, Microsoft is committed. Thus, in the absence of legislation, it said on Thursday, June 11, that it will deny u.s. law enforcement access to its facial recognition technology.
→ REPORT. In the United States, the anger brings together the youth
“We don’t sell our facial recognition technology to police americans at the present time, and as long as there will be no federal legislation in the solid based on the rights of man, we will not sell this technology to the forces of the order “said Brad Smith, a top manager of Microsoft, during a round table organised by the Washington Post.
Beyond the use by the forces of the order, Microsoft plans to put in place mechanisms to assess the use made of this technology is controversial even outside of the forces of law and order, he added. “For the past two years, we have focused on the development and implementation of sound principles to help us in the use of facial recognition, and we have not ceased to seek governmental regulation, strong “insisted Brad Smith.
Amazon, IBM, Google, etc.
It is committed to working with other supporters of the legislation in this area and has indicated that Microsoft took advantage of the occasion “to strengthen the processes of examination of applications for our customers who wish to use this technology on a large scale “. Since the death of George Floyd, an African-American, was asphyxiated by a white policeman at the end of may in Minneapolis, businesses, and local and national authorities, are trying to respond to the pressure of the street and social networks.
Wednesday, June 10 already, Amazon has decided to ban the police to use its facial recognition software Rekognition for a year, to give Congress time to “to put in place appropriate rules “ use of the technology. On his side, on Monday 8 June, IBM had announced to suspend the sale of similar software identification and said he was “opposed to the use of any technology for the monitoring of mass, racial profiling, and violations of rights and freedoms, human basic “.
→ INVESTIGATION. Facial recognition, between fear and fascination
The other juggernaut of artificial intelligence, Google, was also expressed on the subject in January. During a speech in Brussels, Sundar Pichai, the boss of the group, had explained that Google would not provide turn-key service of facial recognition so that rules and safeguards were not put in place by the authorities.
US police during the year will not be able to use technology of recognition of persons Rekognition Amazon. During this time, Congress should develop laws toughening rules of use of such technologies, demanded in the company
Photo: Lindsey Wasson / Getty Images
Amazon has introduced a moratorium on police use U.S. technology face detection Amazon Rekognition. This is stated in the statement published in the company blog.
“We are introducing a one-year moratorium on police use of face recognition technology Amazon,” — said in a statement.
The government should develop more stringent rules regulating the use of face recognition technology, think Amazon.
“We hope that this one-year moratorium will give Congress enough time to develop appropriate rules, and we are ready to help if we are asked,” said the company.
Amazon announced that during the year police departments in the United States will not be able to use the developed software for facial recognition. According to the company, we are talking about the app Rekognition.
Amazon has reminded that has always stood for tougher government regulations governing the ethical use of face recognition technology. According to company representatives, the legislators in the U.S. Congress have demonstrated a willingness to adopt such measures, and the moratorium will give Congress “sufficient time for the introduction of the relevant rules”.
It is noted that Amazon allow you to use the Rekognition organizations that are engaged in search of children, rescue victims of trafficking and family reunification. In 2019, the mit experts have reported that the app does not allow with sufficient accuracy to recognize faces black.
Earlier, the White house said that US President Donald trump may take action for police reform after the death of the African-American George Floyd from the actions of the police during the detention.
(ANSA) – AREZZO, MAY 10 – Every day for years, with anyone
condition, he goes out to take his forced son out
a wheelchair and with him he goes miles along the
road and even in the climbs of Castiglion Fiorentino (Arezzo).
So Silvana Benigni has become a symbol of all mothers in the
place and for this, today, Mother’s Day, she received a
recognition by the Municipality. Silvana and her son Rossano have
had a dedicated ceremony which took place respecting the
social distancing rules. “One moment – he said
social councilor Stefania Franceschini – to reflect
on the role of maternal love and on the meaning of motherhood “.
Moved by the mayor Mario Agnelli: “I’m definitely not
escaped from the sight of no Castiglionese force, love and
the dedication of this mother who has always looked after her son
disabled – said the first citizen – Deservedly
I count her as a high example of motherly love “.
GIs there a fundamental lack of recognition in our society? The fact that many, and perhaps more and more, do not feel sufficiently recognized seems to be an elementary crisis phenomenon of our late modern age. The sociological studies on this are numerous, most recently Naika Foroutan and Daniel Kubiak, for example, disseminated the finding that in the experience of exclusion and devaluation even Muslims and East Germans found their connecting element. Be it the migrants, the losers in modernization, the low-skilled or the entire middle class: The suffering from perceived social disdain, discrimination and declassification seems to have been deeply ingrained in the German soul. It reacts with disenchantment with politics, dissatisfaction with democracy and receptivity to right-wing and left-wing populism.
The research on this, however, has a major flaw: It shows collective deficit experiences, but no individual ones. In a recent study, Christian Schneickert, Jan Delhey and Leonie C. Steckermeier write to what extent people felt underestimated on a personal level in everyday social life. We actually know very little about that. How valuable do people in Germany feel who are supposed to live in a “devaluation society”?
The researchers looked into this question with data from the Socio-Economic Panel from 2016 – and come to astonishing results. According to their surveys, people in Germany experience a high degree of appreciation and a significantly lower level of contempt. This “overall positive recognition balance” also applies to the lowest income group, to the East German resident population as well as to people with a migration background. Only among the unemployed group did the experience of disdain be almost as strong as that of appreciation. Here, too, the balance is still positive. People felt esteem especially at home in the family, but disdain in public, especially when visiting authorities and offices.
Contempt is an individual problem
But what are the reasons for these experiences? Collective characteristics or individual? Clearly the latter. Characteristics such as knowledge, work performance and personal appearance would be given as reasons for appreciation by a wide margin. At the same time, these acquired qualities, or their lack, are also the main source of disdain for 67 percent of those surveyed. Attributed attributes such as age, religion, gender, regional and ethnic origin, and sexual orientation, on the other hand, are only reported by less than 2.5 percent of the respondents as a suspected cause of experience of underestimation, and sexual orientation by only 0.2 percent.
The “stratification” of value and disregard is thus distributed in our society in a rather classic “vertical” manner. That means: according to income, education and social position, in which neither “the” East Germans nor “the” migrants differed from the rest of the population, according to the result of the study. The social recognition record is thus positive overall, even for structurally disadvantaged groups. In this respect, the crisis of recognition recently recognized by the cultural sociologist Andreas Reckwitz in the “society of singularities” is not a phenomenon that affects the whole of society, at least on the level of everyday and personal experiences. The findings of this study rather referred to the character of German society as a knowledge, consumer and working society: Those who do not “keep up” in these three dimensions will systematically experience more disdain and less appreciation. Appreciation influences life satisfaction more positively than neglect negative. Otherwise, the study confirms known findings of a life stratification of the German population “stratified” according to income and a somewhat lower life satisfaction in East Germany. In contrast, the migrant population does not differ in life satisfaction from the rest of society, the authors summarize.
Of course, this result does not refute the possibility of collective devaluation or even discrimination experiences of these groups, for example if such stereotyping is used in public discourse. So while in some recent sociological studies and in the public discussion the disregard especially of East Germans and the migrant population is emphasized, on the personal level there were no such differences in the available data – a remarkable finding, according to the authors of the study. Unfortunately, he has not yet reached the public discourse.
“Strictly prohibited for truckers”. The poster posted in front of the coffee distributor in the PSA factory in Vesoul (Haute-Saône) last week set fire to the powder, targeting a profession already on edge. The bitterness of feeling despised has turned to anger, with the feeling of being neglected.
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Launched on the roads, with their food loads, medicines and essentials, the truck drivers collided with closed restaurants, locked sanitary facilities, blocked parking lots, condemned rest areas. No protective device had been granted to them. No masks, no gloves, no hydroalcoholic gel. They were reduced to gleaning food here and there or filling their cabins with canned goods to try to keep the week going…
Their personal commitment in the service of the general interest
The massive and panicked use of e-commerce is also ultimately based on their availability. They were asked to ride longer, even on Sundays, to reduce their rest time, to be available. Over the days, the disgust has given way to a start of revolt, with the threat of a strike brandished by the unions, relayed by the federations of carriers, denouncing, together, conditions “Deplorable and inhuman”.
It took four days before we realized that the truckers were an essential cog. That, without them, the country could stop. So that we can discover the reality of their commitment to serving the general interest.
Considered “ plagued “
What happened was only the amplification of what the truckers testify to constantly undergo. But this time, bumping into factories and warehouses at the command not to approach, they felt like “Plague victims”.
“Year round, we are shot at with red bullets, complains Annick Niquet, on the road. And now, everything is expected of us, without giving us the slightest consideration, without worrying about our health security, or even guaranteeing a minimum of hygiene. Worse, we are rejected! “ Some, says Bruno Triquet, a truck driver, were unable to unload, even while staying in their cabins. They were chased from the warehouses where they came to deliver.
“The situation remains very uncertain, underlines Michel Sarrat, CEO of the company GT Solutions. All economic activity is disorganized. Our visibility does not exceed one day. Right now, we have partially unemployed drivers. For the others, we equip them with jerry cans of water, soap, hydroalcoholic gel, but we have trouble finding any. “
“The key to any victory is transportation and logistics”
Thursday March 19, the government suddenly took the measure of the risk of neglecting this social category, capital for the general survival. Declarations, arrested in order to improve their working conditions as quickly as possible and try to ensure their health security.
→ READ. Drop in prices and pandemic, Total goes on a dry diet
In Déols (Indre), Dominique Thomas, the owner of L’Escale, the largest road restaurant in France, forced to close his establishment, struggled to reopen and offer maximum security for truckers. He came up against, he says, the slowness of administrative authorizations.
“We supply the front”
“The key to any wartime victory is transportation and logistics, recalls Florence Berthelot, general delegate of the FNTR (National Federation of Road Transport), the main employers’ organization. What happened the first few days? Deteriorated conditions for mistreated drivers, confusion on the roads with lorries charged on the pretext that they were not transporting essential materials, while everything is in place and that all the links must hold, a serious imbalance between the sectors which close, due to lack of activity or personnel, and the food industries which are overheated. A number of these issues are being resolved, including the issue of partial unemployment which will benefit the profession. “
Routier, Pierre Audet enrage: “In warehouses, we park in a group of rooms. We are kept at a distance. We are denied access to toilets, even to sinks. We throw the papers at us rather than hand them over to us. We can’t take it anymore! “
So why are they getting back behind the wheel? “We supply the front. I’m going back because it’s my duty, says Pierre Audet. I do it for mine and for the country. “
Deaths among employees
The deaths due to Covid-19 of a Carrefour employee in Saint-Denis and a Manpower temporary worker on a mission with Fedex in Roissy, and the confirmed case of an Amazon employee in Saran, near Orléans, Friday, March 27, angered unions, who demand better protections. The CGT asks the government to impose on large retailers “to open only the shelves of essential products, to limit the opening hours and to close on Sundays”.
The SUD union requests the closure of Amazon’s French warehouses, which would continue to treat leisure articles (games, comics, DVDs, etc.), despite the group’s announcement on March 21 that they will no longer take orders “lower priority” products in France and Italy.
The unions that group all the doctors in the country sent this Wednesday a letter to President Iván Duque in which strongly reject the possibility of making time and procedures more flexible for the validation of medical degrees and their specialties obtained abroad.
On Tuesday night, in a transmission, President Iván Duque anticipated that the Government was preparing a decree to accelerate the validations of the medical degrees obtained in educational institutions outside Colombia, in order to attend to the health emergency that the country is experiencing due to the coronavirus.
In a document that would be the draft decree, known by this newspaper, it is indicated that this measure seeks to establish “the legal exercise of the profession of titles in general medicine, specialists, subspecialists in medical and surgical specialties, masters and doctorates concerning the health area, titles of nurses, physiotherapists, who completed and completed their studies abroad ”.
The foregoing in order to prevent and control the spread of covid-19 in the territory and mitigate its effects “In the face of a possible collapse of the institutions providing health services that today are the main line to face the sanitary emergency ”.
Likewise, the draft decree, which has not been made official, proposes to temporarily grant extraordinary functions to the governors of each department so that, through the departmental health institutes, issue the corresponding administrative acts authorizing the legal exercise of the profession of the titles of health professionals in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health.
However, in the response letter signed by representatives of nine unions, the “great concern for the possibility that the national government is raised any flexibility of the times and procedures required for validation titles of general practitioner and first or second medical specialties that come from abroad; indistinctly”.
Doctors warn that more than a shortage of professionals in this field what exists an inequitable distribution of the same in the different regions, conditioned by limitations for the exercise and problems in the contracting on the part of the different actors of the system.
In another part of the letter, the health unions propose to Duque seven alternatives to face the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic from the health level.
Starting from the basis that “in Colombia there is no deficit of health professionals”, some of them are graduating from the first of April to about 2,500 doctors who have already completed their careers in medical schools; hiring those who have already graduated but are waiting to complete their rural year or have not found a job; and formally link resident physicians.
“General practitioners and some other specialties could be given the possibility of exercising at this juncture by license or transitory permit, which would end at the end of the crisis and then, these professionals graduated abroad, thus temporarily validated, would initiate their corresponding regulatory procedures, ”is another proposal.
The signatory unions are the Colombian Association of Scientific Societies, the National Academy of Medicine, the Colombian Medical College, the Colombian Medical Federation, the Colombian Association of Faculties of Medicine, the National Union Medical Association, the National Association of Inmates and Residents, the Association of Medical Students and the Colombian Federation of Medical Unions.
HEALTH UNIT Check here all the news from the EL TIEMPO Health Unit. Contact us through @SaludET, on Twitter, or in the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The enemy Hank Bolden
faced did not come from a distant front line.
It came from the skies.
It’s a battle that’s still going on 65 years later. Bolden, who is now 82 years old, is an atomic veteran – one of hundreds of thousands of American service members used in human testing by the United States government during post-WWII nuclear tests and sworn to a secret life.
“They wanted to see how the living soldiers would resist the exposure
to radiation, ”recalls Bolden. “Before using live soldiers they were using
mannequins. But you don’t get real results using mannequins as you would
live bodies. “
A DIFFERENT TIME
While accompanying a friend to a New Haven recruiting station in 1953, Bolden was invited to join the army. At just 16 years old then and already out of high school, he admits that he “pulled down” his birth certificate to move to the age of 18, joining the approximately 200,000 underage soldiers who would have served during the Second World War and the eras of the Korean War.
After basic training in
Fort Dix was assigned to work as a tank mechanic in Texas before moving to Texas
California and becoming a surface-to-air missile mechanic.
Despite an executive order issued in July
26, 1948, by President Harry S. Truman to desegregate the armed forces, the last one
the all black units of the army were not abolished until 1954. And in 1955, Bolden
he says, racist attitudes persist even after the units have been racially integrated.
“The residual thoughts of people were firm
linger, “he says.” My outfit was 800 people strong. Thirteen of us were
black. Ten were from the South, who were more tolerant of treatment
they got racially. But the three of us from the North couldn’t tolerate it,
so I have had many fights over this. So I was the guy they wanted
get rid of.”
It would not be the only race
discrimination Bolden would witness as a soldier.
In 1955, the seventeen year old
he was suddenly ordered to the Nevada desert without explanation.
“They don’t tell you what you’re going to face,” he said. “Nobody
they knew what they were going to face. ”
What he would eventually face was a classified operation known as Operation Teapot at the Nevada Test Site. In a series of 14 bomb throws, or “hits”, military officials tried to test the effects of nuclear bombs on structures and strategies, animals and people.
All races of military personnel
participated in the Teapot operation. But upon arrival in Nevada, Bolden was
astounded to accomplish all the other soldiers in his new specially selected unit
for a mysterious assignment they were also black.
“There was this myth about black people
be able to resist, tolerate certain things more than any other race “, he
He says. “So it was a test on that too.”
AN ATOMIC NIGHT
One morning in February, Bolden
the unit was ordered in a desert trench. Unbeknownst to them, it was excavated
the expected route of the fallout, only 2.8 miles away from what it would have become
ground zero for the launch of an atomic bomb.
Even though a countdown sounded on the speakers, Bolden says, the soldiers still had no idea what they were about to face. Without protective gear in addition to the normal fabrics and helmets, they waited and looked.
“They tell you to cover your eyes”
On February 18, 1955, Shot Wasp, the first nuclear test of Operation Teapot, detonated a Mark 6 nuclear bomb dropped by a B-36 exactly at noon. A monstrous cloud of mushrooms filled the sky, reaching 21,500 feet in height.
“With radiation, when you put your arms over your eyes or hands, you actually see the bones, you see the bones in your body from the exposure. You can see your skeleton. “
After the relapse the warning came.
“You swore not to speak
“said Bolden. The soldiers were threatened with imprisonment and fines for violation
For 60 years, Bolden didn’t tell anyone. No this
family, not his wife, not his children. Not even her doctors when she spies on her
tumors have started to show. He developed bladder and posterior subcapsular cancer
cataract and in 1990 multiple myeloma was diagnosed.
“They actually gave me three and a half years
four years to live, ”recalls Bolden. So in 1995 I should have been a statistic. “
But in 1995, Bolden was in remission. He is a citizen
the secret was coming to light.
Government figures estimate between 400,000 and 550,000 US military personnel who participated in a series of nuclear tests between 1946 and 1992. According to the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, this includes post occupation forces -Second World War of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, prisoners of war in Japan at the end of the Second World War, participants in the atmospheric nuclear tests in Nevada and the Pacific from 1945 to 1962 and participants in the underground nuclear tests in Nevada from 1951 to 1992.
Many of these “atomic veterans” have succumbed before their own
the stories have become public, their bodies are full of tumors. In
1990, the veil of secrecy began to lift.
After setting up the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments to investigate 10-year experiments, President Clinton made a formal apology to American atomic veterans on October 3, 1995. By order of the president, Congress would repeal the nuclear radiation agreement law. and secrecy, allowing atomic veterans to talk about their experiences without fear of fines or treason charges. And financial compensation has been opened to all qualified atomic veterans.
“Those who led the government when these decisions were made are no longer here to take responsibility for what they have done. They are not here to apologize to survivors, family members or their communities whose lives have been overshadowed by shadow of these choices So today, on behalf of another generation of American leaders and another generation of American citizens, the United States of America offers sincere apologies to those of our citizens who have undergone these experiments. the government is wrong, we have a moral responsibility to admit it, “said President Bill Clinton on October 3, 1995
But the television address has been obscured. The same happened
day when OJ Simpson’s verdict was issued in a live classroom feed, taking
on televisions and news cycles across America.
As a result, many skilled veterans had no idea of the ban
the secrecy had been lifted, nor that they could claim benefits. Bolden no
find out until he researched the Internet, he says, in 2015.
“I was once so angry and so aggravating with the government that I thought I would be murdered to keep me from talking,” he says.
When Bolden attempted to apply for subsidies, he found that the burden of proof was placed on his fellow atomic veterans. The government would give compensation from the date a complaint was filed, but not retroactively, and only if the veteran could prove that he had participated in the tests – which proved to be an almost impossible task after millions of military documents were destroyed in a 1973 fire against the National Staff Registration Center. As many as 18 million documents were burned, including 80% of all army personnel discharged between 1912 and 1960.
“They hoped for it
would have died sooner or would have been one of those guys who surrendered ”
says Anthony Bolden, Hank’s son. “No thanks. Hank doesn’t have it.”
After paying her
own pocket for a polygraph lie detector pouch, Hank eventually claimed
approved, setting a precedent for other atomic veterans whose records were
Photo: Hidden story: the atomic veterans of America
Hit a high note
“The love of music has
I’ve always been there. “
After his honorable discharge
from the army, Bolden went to work as an engineer before deciding to pursue a
career as a jazz musician who works while his family grows. Tell the story
while cradling the tenor saxophone that has been at his side since 1967. The “Rolls
Royce “of tools, he says.
The brand is Selmer. IS
in a strange coincidence, the model is a 6 sign. It is the same name as the shot
Wasp atomic bomb design.
But this is where the
the similarities end. The bomb was his nightmare. Music, his dream and his
outlet to work through the trauma of what lived in Nevada
“It’s like the blood inside
my veins. It takes away all my other thoughts, “he says
Bolden is finally
he receives compensation from the government and is now using it to help make his dream come true.
He returned to school, studying jazz performances at Hartt University of Hartford
“They are like the relic
here with all these kids, you know, “he chuckles.
Professor Javon Jackson
says that the 82-year-old is leaving a unique mark on the prestigious program.
“He has a lot of emotion,” says Jackson. “He is a very bluesy, very full of feeling, a natural player. His life, wisdom and the things he has acquired allow him to play the way it sounds.”
The vast majority of
Today, the American atomic veterans of the atmospheric test era are gone. About
400,000 veterans were present during these tests, according to the veterans
Administration. Survivors’ numbers vary, from around 10,000 to 80,000
Bolden believes he is one of only two surviving African American atomic veterans who are recognized and receive compensation from the government. He is on a mission to reach as many survivors as possible and help them request the long-awaited recognition and compensation.
And he’s sharing his story, he says, to make sure the plight of American atomic veterans is no longer ignored.
“When people like me pass by, this won’t be part of the story unless someone makes sure it’s kept alive.”
You will surely be surprised to receive a letter from me, of all people, especially when I am not a great letter writer. But unfortunately I don’t know your postal address, so this form of delivery is easier and cheaper for me. With this letter, I would like to finally ask you to recognize the Republic of Arzach as an independent and free country and to be a 194th full member of the United Nations. Please do it as soon as possible, actually as of now or better still retrospectively from January 1, 2020. Why should you do that? Well, there are many good reasons for that, which I allow myself to explain here.
As a Portuguese and son of the fairly crowded tourist metropolis Lisbon, you are aware of the devastating consequences of mass tourism and over tourism very familiar. We urgently need more travel destinations to relieve the old ones. In the search for new, as yet unused holiday countries, I traveled to the small and largely unknown Caucasus Republic of Arzach. Also on board were, as it were, your political advance command, MEP Martin Sonneborn (The PARTY) and a high-level examination and expert commission. The aim of our research trip was to test the potential vacation destination Arzach for suitability for travel.
The small republic lies in the so-called Little Caucasus, pretty much between Europe and Asia, clutched, indeed surrounded by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Because there was little free space, the national territory was designed to be small and clear. The territory consists mainly of areas and areas, is about half the size of Hesse and has fewer inhabitants than Paderborn. Your Excellency may not know Paderborn or half of Hesse at all, but that doesn’t matter, because you obviously don’t know Arzach either. If it were otherwise, you would have recognized this excellent travel destination long ago.
The high valleys gap
The local landscape is in excellent shape. The soil is successfully cultivated, with lovely valleys, mountains and dizzying gorges in between, protruding and gaping. On the trees responsible for it, the mulberries hang bulging and black, from which the population knows how to distill an excellent schnapps that only makes you blind after the third tankard. But this only for a time, so that the next day you will not be adversely affected by further admiring and marveling at the topographical achievements. There are cows, chickens and horse carts that are driven and cared for by busy men. These men greet back friendly. Over a thousand years old monasteries remind that the Armenians founded the oldest Christian state on earth as early as 301. In Arzach you know how to live and celebrate, the highlight of the annual festival is the festival of pickled vegetables in Drakhtik.
Spanish science has been in a crisis that seems to have no end for more than a decade. The public investigation system has lost more than 20,000 million euros since 2009. Although the economic recovery came years ago, laboratories have barely felt the improvements. Public investment in science is stagnant at levels similar to those of 2012, largely due to political instability and the inability to approve new budgets.
Among all this darkness, the scientific community saw one of its historical claims fulfilled in the summer of 2018 with the appointment of Pedro Duque at the head of a ministry that combined the competences of science, innovation and universities, three areas that he considers inseparable. The new Government that Pedro Sánchez profiles is now taking away that conquest to create a Ministry of Universities assigned to the sociologist Manuel Castells, a decision that has achieved a unanimous rejection of scientists, rectors and leaders in innovation.
“These powers cannot be separated, doing so can cause a fight between these two ministries for resources that are already scarce,” says physicist Perla Wahnón, president of the scientific societies of Spain (Cosce). “It is also a decision contrary to what we see in the main European powers, in the EU executive itself and that reduces political weight to science in the Council of Ministers,” adds Wahnón. “It’s bad news for Spain,” said in a joint statement sent last Friday by Cosce, the rectors of public universities, scientific-medical associations and Severo Ochoa centers and units, the elite of scientific research in Spain.
The key is now in the detailed structure of the new Government, which will define how many powers and budget the Duke Ministry loses in favor of Universities. “The separation of universities and science is not the most recommended model, but it is not something new,” explains Jorge Barrero, general director of the Cotec Foundation. “These powers have been separated for 14 of the last 20 years, first in the Aznar Government, then in the Zapatero Government and since 2012 in the Rajoy Government,” he said. What is unprecedented is that of a ministry of universities separated from education and science, he adds, possibly because most university competences are transferred to the autonomous communities and there is very little left to the State.
In Spain around 70% of scientific research is done by universities, but the state funding they receive for this depends on the National R & D & I Plan managed by the Ministry of Science and is granted based on a competitive competition , hence the suspicions of the research community before possible Solomon divisions of these funds. “Breaking this unique bag to take part of this money to universities would be irresponsible,” says Barrero, who sees it more feasible to give Castells a ministry in charge of lifelong learning that manages Vocational Training, currently attached to Education , and job training courses that depend on Work.
The challenges of the next legislature
“Give me 700 million and I will tell you how many scientists can return to Spain,” Pedro Duque told EL PAÍS in November 2018, four months after taking office. That was an impossible wish because the budgetary pact reached by the Government of Pedro Sánchez and Podemos barely contemplated raising the science budgets by 273 million euros. That pact never materialized and the budgets remain frozen and extended, but Duke can say that he fulfilled one of his main promises: to approve a package of urgent measures for science that ended the previous intervention, the bureaucratic work that was suffocating the public research centers to the point that scientists could not even buy chairs.
In this new term, the main problem will be money again. In 2018, investment in R&D rose a shy 6%, which is explained by the greater investment in the private sector. Scientists now ask for a public counterpart, but without going crazy. They do not even ask to get Spain to spend 2% of GDP on R&D, something that most parties have in their program, including Podemos, but that scientists and experts see completely unfeasible in the short span of four years .
“If this legislature were able to double the budget of the National Plan, which is a total of about 350 million euros, it would be a great achievement,” said Luis Serrano, president of Somma.
This program is bread and salt for the vast majority of scientists in Spain and especially nourishes the middle classes of research, those who do not have the resources or human capital to handle large projects, but who make up the critical mass of the system of public R&D. This group faces in this legislature two years of cuts of up to 20% due to the new calendar of calls promoted by the Duke Ministry and that has helped the scientific community, especially cancer researchers grouped in the ASEICA association. “Our position is to wait and see,” explains Xosé Bustelo, president of this organization. “The minister has so far spoken more than he has done. Hopefully in this term the batteries will be put to solve the pending problems that our suffered R & D & I system has ”, he adds.
“Almost everything remains to be done,” says Pablo Jiménez, spokesman for the Federation of Young Researchers. “The R&D system is dismembered and needs an important money injection,” he says.
Despite the measures against the bureaucracy approved by Duke there are still many present. One of them, explains Álvaro Rodríguez-Lescure, president of the Society of Medical Oncology, is that under current regulations cooperative groups such as cancer network research centers, cardiovascular or respiratory ailments, among others, are not “tax subjects can be financed, which prevents them from attending calls for public funds, ”he says. “Another objective for Duque’s new mandate should be to create a specific item to conduct independent clinical trials that, due to their objectives, are not profitable for the pharmaceutical industry but that can bring great benefits to patients and the biomedical community,” he explains. These are, for example, studies designed to reuse drugs already approved and without a patent or to carry out studies that prevent cancer patients already cured from having to go through the usual protocol and receive a year of additional treatment.