European scientists protest austerity measures and offer dire warnings of impact

October 9, 2014 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report

Credit: Petr Kratochvil/Public Domain
(Phys.org) —European scientists are extremely worried about the future of research in Europe—many of the countries that make up Europe are experiencing financial difficulties and those that belong to the European Union have been forced to take some dramatic steps to balance budgets. Such cost cutting schemes have been labeled across the continent as "austerity measures." One of those sectors has been public research centers. The result has been a diminishing research capacity, particularly in those countries that have been hardest hit, such as Spain, Greece and Italy. Now, scientists from across Europe, and the U.S. have banded together and written an open letter (which can be signed by supporters) to officials within the European Union and individual countries, denouncing the cuts and pointing out how cuts to research will only undermine the future of Europe as a whole. They suggest officials consider more carefully the damaging impact of austerity measures and what it may mean for the future.

Amaya Moro-Martin, an astrophysicist with the Space Telescope Science Institute in the U.S. (and member of the governing board of Euroscience and one of the writers of the open letter) has published a World View Column in the journal Nature, supporting the scientists in Europe and calling out those European officials who have been pushing for austerity measures in the research community for their lack of support for continued research. She also offers some stark examples, noting that public research funding in Italy has dropped to zero in Italy and is just half of what it once was in Greece. In Spain, researchers who retire are not being replaced. She suggests policy makers "have completely lost touch with the reality of research." Not only is research suffering, she points out, but so is opportunity—without a place to work, European scientists will be forced to migrate to other countries or simply find another career field, which of course, would represent a severe brain drain. She and the other scientists also point out that funneling general research funds into applied research, which officials have suggested, won't work either as it ignores how the science process works. Without, theoretical research, they note, applied research would very soon run out of steam.

The main point Moro-Martin and the scientists in Europe are trying to make is that if stops, so too will innovation, which in the end is what drives economies forward. Without it, and perhaps the EU as a whole will find stagnation, rather than growth.

Explore further: EU well armed to prevent an Ebola epidemic: experts

More information: A call to those who care about Europe's science, Nature, www.nature.com/news/a-call-to- … pe-s-science-1.16086

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14 comments

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orti
1 / 5 (4) Oct 09, 2014
Judging from what I see of US research on phys.org, it could be cut by 90% with no problem. It's just another gravy train for the left.
Benni
1 / 5 (7) Oct 09, 2014
...........and this is a surprise? Since when has communism/socialism/dictatorships ever worked anyplace it's ever been tried?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Oct 09, 2014
Making a budget not look bad during their term in office vs. the long term survival of research. If you put something like that in the hands of a politician you're already sunk.
I think the open letter is a good idea. I fear it will not accomplish anything.
jonagrev
5 / 5 (4) Oct 09, 2014
@Benni: To my knowledge no such countries exist in Europe.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Oct 09, 2014
To my knowledge no such countries exist in Europe.

Small niggle: The Vatican is a dictatorship.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 09, 2014
"European scientists are extremely worried about the future of research in Europe—many of the countries that make up Europe are experiencing financial difficulties and those that belong to the European Union have been forced to take some dramatic steps to balance budgets:"

Maybe they should have paid attention to Popper and opposed socialism.
barakn
5 / 5 (1) Oct 09, 2014
To my knowledge no such countries exist in Europe.

Small niggle: The Vatican is a dictatorship.

So is Russia.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 09, 2014
Russia isn't part of the EU (hmm..neither is Vatican city for that matter. It's just uses the Euro as currency as part of a special agreement. So I'll redact my niggle.)
bluehigh
1 / 5 (5) Oct 10, 2014
On the subject of niggles. 'Redact'? Kinda hard to do *after* your comment is published. For someone who thinks himself to be very clever, that's an example of trying to be seen to be clever. Dumbass.

Perhaps you could *retract* the statement or better still, just shut up.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Oct 10, 2014
Perhaps you could *retract* the statement or better still, just shut up.

English isn't my first language...forgive me for actually mixing up two words.

When you speak german as well as I speak english then, maybe, you can start to talk smack about vocabulary. Maybe.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2014
"Up to 2.5 million French people now live abroad, and more are bidding "au revoir" each year."
"Centre-right deputies are convinced that the people who are the "lifeblood" of France are leaving because of "the impression that it's impossible to succeed", said Luc Chatel, secretary general of the UMP, who chaired the commission."
"Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister, announced in London this week that the top income tax rate of 75 per cent would be abolished next January after a number of business tycoons and celebrities moved out."
http://www.indepe...348.html
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2014
"A longtime ally of the Russian president and former inner circle tycoon, Sergei Pugachev, charged this week that Putin was making "serfs" of businessmen as he accuses them of crimes and confiscates their wealth.

"Today in Russia there is no private property," Pugachev said in an interview with the Financial Times. "There are only serfs who belong to Putin." "
http://www.market...14-10-10

tritace
Oct 12, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Oct 12, 2014
ignore their own findings for whole century (like the cold fusion finding from 1926, which could bring a huge money into physics) - but they're asking money all the time from human society. What they expect, after then?
@tritace - Zephir
How can you say you don't understand ingoring something in front of your face when you've ignored the empirical evidence proving daw/aw to be fallacious? http://arxiv.org/...1284.pdf

and how do you know that paper was not retracted?
After all, you've posted retracted papers supporting your conclusions in the past, to which I rebutted with the notification with the publisher telling you it was retracted (ignoring the obvious again)
But now you will put down mainstream science because they're not investing in a failed paper?
really?
If the paper works, then re-create the CF tech and build it yourself- get rich!

where is your other sock puppet?

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