Posted on behalf of Michele Catanzaro.
An analysis of Spain’s draft research and development (R&D) budget for 2013 has shown that the government plans to cut its investment in science by 7.21%. This is the fourth annual cut to science funding in a row: support was reduced by 4% in 2010, 7% in 2011 and 25.5% in 2012.
The draft budget was presented to Spain’s parliament on Saturday, 29 September, and allocated €5.9 billion (US$7.9 billion) to science, a €461-million reduction on the previous year’s tally. The majority of the cut (€394 million) is absorbed by military research, with civil research being reduced by just 1.2%, according to preliminary accounting by the Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE).
But “these figures are the result of an accounting trick”, says COSCE president Carlos Andradas, a mathematician at the Complutense University of Madrid. The small reduction to civil research funding hides a 14% cut to research grants, balanced in part by an 8.5% increase to loans offered to companies that engage in R&D.
COSCE showed in a study last week, however, that almost half of last year’s loan funds remained unspent.
The budget is set to be debated by parliament, and its final form should be approved before the end of the year. However, given that the governing right-wing People’s Party has an outright majority, it is probable that — as in 2012 — the final budget will be almost identical to the draft.