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Spanish researchers get political on EU researchers’ night

Posted on behalf of Michele Catanzaro.

The main scientific organizations in Spain will use today’s EU researchers’ night to spread an open letter requesting a U-turn on research-and-development policy in the country.

The researchers’ night, a science-popularization event promoted by the European Commission, has been running since 2005. The event includes activities such late-night opening of laboratories in about 300 European cities.

The same scientific organizations that presented an open letter to the Spanish members of parliament in March complaining about drastic budget cuts have decided to take advantage of this event to directly address members of the public interested in science. “We have contacted the organizers of local events and asked them to spread the letter to the public,” says Pilar Navas Parejo, a spokeswoman for the Federation of Young Researchers.

“Instead of the night of researchers, we may be assisting the sunset of research,” says the letter, which argues that budget cuts imply that science is considered dispensable. It also states that the cuts will damage Spain’s “brand” in the field and force research centres to fire scientists.

The Spanish government has approved its draft budget for 2013 and will present it to parliament tomorrow.

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