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: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

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

Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

Apr 16, 2014

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world's big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There is ...

Japan stem cell body splashes cash on luxury furniture

Apr 14, 2014

A publicly-funded research institute in Japan, already embattled after accusing one of its own stem cell scientists of faking data, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on designer Italian furniture, reportedly to use up ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...