Spanish scientists march against spending cuts

Jun 14, 2013

Hundreds of Spanish scientists and their supporters marched through the streets of Madrid Friday as part of a nationwide protest against sharp government cuts to research and development which they say are forcing them to leave the country.

The protesters, some in their white lab coats, chanted and blew as they marched to the Economy Ministry where they delivered a petition signed by more than 40,000 people demanding the government raise spending on science.

Protests were held in 18 other cities across the country, including Barcelona, Spain's second largest city, and Seville in the south.

The demonstrations were organised by the Open Letter for Science group, a platform grouping the main scientific bodies in the country, including societies, unions and universities specialised in the subject.

"The cuts have been brutal. Many labs can't carry out research because they don't have the means," said Irene Amigo, a 25-year-old biotechnologist who wore a hat she made out of and cardboard depicting a as a symbol of the "" Spain is facing.

Amigo said she plans to look for work outside of Spain when her internship at a public research centre ends early next year.

Public spending on research and development has plunged by 40 percent since 2009, according to the petition submitted to the Economy Ministry which calls on the government to boost spending on science "to avoid the massive exodus of our human capital".

The government cutbacks "are causing the Spanish science and to suffocate," the petition reads.

"We are on the brink of the collapse of what we believe to be one of the essential ingredients of the recipe that will allow us to get out of the ," it added.

Many academics also joined the march, as the cutbacks have affected disciplines across universities.

Xose Alvarez, a 32-year-old Spanish linguist who has been working in Portugal since 2009 because he could not find a job in Spain, was at the march in Madrid with a sign on his back that read: "Researcher for rent. Good price".

"I would like to work in Spain, it is my homeland, it is the country that invested in my education. Spain could benefit from my work, from my training. It was Spanish taxpayers who paid for my education," he said.

Spain, the fourth largest economy in the eurozone, is struggling to trim bulging annual deficits, which are rapidly pushing up the overall public debt.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has vowed to find 150 billion euros ($195 billion) in savings between 2012 and 2014 through a painful austerity programme that has sparked mass demonstrations.

Explore further: Study shows more than half of peer-reviewed research articles published during 2007-2012 are now open access

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Thousands protest Spain's health care austerity

Dec 09, 2012

(AP)—Thousands of Spanish medical workers and residents angered by budget cuts and plans to partly privatize the cherished national health service marched through some of Madrid's most famous squares on ...

Big protests in Spain against health care reforms

Feb 17, 2013

(AP)—Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of 16 Spanish cities Sunday to protest plans to part-privatize the public health care system, with some questioning the government's motives.

Thousands in Spain protest health privatization

Dec 17, 2012

(AP)—Several thousand Spanish public health workers and other people marched from four main hospitals in Madrid to converge on a main square in the capital Sunday, protesting the regional government's plans ...

Madrid health center directors quit en masse

Jan 08, 2013

(AP)—More than 300 directors of some 140 health centers in Madrid resigned from their posts Tuesday to protest plans to partly privatize the region's public health service.

Large Spanish protest against health privatization

Jan 07, 2013

(AP)—Thousands of Spanish medical workers marched through downtown Madrid on Monday to protest against budget cuts and plans to partly privatize their cherished national health service.

Recommended for you

Cloning whistle-blower: little change in S. Korea

4 hours ago

The whistle-blower who exposed breakthrough cloning research as a devastating fake says South Korea is still dominated by the values that allowed science fraudster Hwang Woo-suk to become an almost untouchable ...

Color and texture matter most when it comes to tomatoes

Oct 21, 2014

A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), evaluated consumers' choice in fresh tomato selection and revealed which characteristics make the red fruit most appealing.

How the lotus got its own administration

Oct 21, 2014

Actually the lotus is a very ordinary plant. Nevertheless, during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) a complex bureaucratic structure was built up around this plant. The lotus was part of the Imperial Household, ...

What labels on textiles can tell us about society

Oct 21, 2014

Throughout Chinese history, dynastic states used labels on textiles to spread information on the maker, the commissioner, the owner or the date and site of production. Silks produced in state-owned manufacture ...

User comments : 0